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All the Pretty Horses: It Takes Time

Powerful Essays
“Growing up” is a very broad term that is used without a true, consistent definition. In essence, it describes and encompasses themes of coming of age and the loss of innocence as a person moves from child to adult. In many respects, people view this change as a specific, pivotal moment in a person’s life, such as an eighteenth birthday, or the day a person leaves their parents’ house. This idea of having a crucial moment in life, which provides the open door into adulthood, is portrayed in many novels. It is easy to find a death that occurs, or a specific event that causes a character to “grow up” prematurely, but many times, contrary to most beliefs, that exact event is not the turn of the key leading through the doors to maturity. It is rather just a small push which starts a domino effect. This is the same scenario in the novel All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy. This novel proves that loss of innocence is a learning process rather than the result of a

The precise event that comes to mind when considering this novel is the day John Grady Cole’s grandfather dies. The day John Grady explains, “That was not sleeping. That was not sleeping” (McCarthy 3). This truly life changing moment, thought by many to be the event which forces John Grady into becoming an adult and making the mature decision to leave his home, is only the first nudge in the domino effect, simply beginning his process of coming of age. As John Grady “seeks freedom from the old well-marked Texas spaces in the possibilities of an undiscovered country,” by heading on his journey to Mexico, his innocence is quickly shown when the “possibilities of” this “undiscovered country” come up short in almost every aspect (“McCarthy, Cormac (1933-)” 249). The quick pr...

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Works Cited

McCarthy, Cormac. All the Pretty Horses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1992. Print.

"McCarthy, Cormac 1933–." Concise Major 21st Century Writers. Ed. Tracey L. Matthews. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 2370-2375. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 Mar. 2012.

"McCarthy, Cormac (1933-)." Modern American Literature. 5th ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: St. James Press, 1999. 249-251. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Feb. 2012.

Miller, D. Quentin. "Cormac McCarthy: Overview." Contemporary Novelists. Ed. Susan Windisch Brown. 6th ed. New York: St. James Press, 1996. N.pag. Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 May 2011.

Sickels, Robert C., and Marc Oxoby. “In Search of a Further Frontier: Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey Hunter.Vol. 295. Detroit: Gale, 2011. N.pag. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 May 2011.