02 Oct 2009

Essays on All the Pretty Horses

All the Pretty Horses is a great American western, without the great American West.  In the novel, three young boys, each with their own reasons for running away, seek to live out the adventurous lifestyle of old-west cowboys.  Forsaking the United States, for a time, the young men seek out adventure in Mexico, only to have fortune turn against them.  An attempt by one boy to regain something stolen from them ends up with a man dead and the three boys thrown into prison with the killer ending up killed.  Freed only by the intervention of another, the two remaining boys part ways.  Eventually they both end up returning to the United States.  One returns home, the other stereotypically rides alone into the western sunset.

All the Pretty Horses was written in 1949 by Cormac McCarthy.  The first of his “border” trilogy, All the Pretty Horses is the most remembered, yet like all his novels is not your typical western novel.  There is no hero.  There is no lesson to be learned.  There is no real ending, happy or otherwise.  McCarthy set out to draw readers into the reality of the American West.  Life was hard and often cruel.  And without a doubt, there was no such thing as a “happily ever after.”  Life simply continued.

The novel focuses on the hero (for lack of a better descriptive), John Grady Cole.  John is enamored by the legends of the old west and truly wishes to live that life.  With his friend Lacey Rawlins and a younger runaway that they meet along the way, Jimmy Blevins, sets out for Mexico, bemoaning the fact that the United States old west has developed so much, the cowboy lifestyle has been strangled.  Lacey, however, doesn’t have the same drive as John in pursuing this lifestyle and in the end simply returns home.  Blevins is presented as a self-conscious, honor-driven youth, quick to fight, but not always wisely in control of himself, despite the best efforts of John and Lacey to reign him in.

All the Pretty Horses is generally about the way time changes reality and how that change can alter how we respond to life.  John desires to live the stereotypical western lifestyle, only to find that the lifestyle is a romanticized lie in the already rapidly changing world around him.  John heads for Mexico as the one place he feels has not yet been “civilized” and where he is free to lead the cowboy lifestyle, living by the codes of honor, integrity and hard work.  When reality strikes, John’s two friends show they don’t have the stomach or moral fiber for such living.

Student’s in college face similar overthrows of their reality.  With images popularized by movies such as Animal House (Landis 1978) and Revenge of the Nerds (Kanew 1984), many students enter college with thought of wild parties and free-wheeling debauchery.  When faced with the reality of academic rigor, their understanding of the world is dramatically altered.  The heavy burden of academic work overwhelms many, leading to a truly unacceptable dropout rate.  Our company is one that attempts to lift some of this burden by providing student with expert, high-quality writing services.  All we need to assist you is your order.

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