Effective Use of Dialogue in All the Pretty Horses

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Effective Use of Dialogue in All the Pretty Horses All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy, is, among other things, an exploration of its main character, John Grady Cole. The author chooses words carefully and sparingly when creating dialogue for Cole. In doing so, McCarthy creates poetic effects and rich meaning from limited verbiage. This novelist lets his readers get to know his main character largely through dialogue instead of through direct description. In this way, readers find the techniques used by McCarthy similar to those used by Ernest Hemingway in many of his books and short stories. Like the dialogue of Hemingway's protagonists, Cole's speech is sparse, but it is indicative of a great deal of meaning. In Cole's brief discourse, wise readers can find many individuality indicators that help us to understand this stoic character. The first verbal exchange of this novel only requires 17 words of Cole. The first twelve words tell us a great deal considering the limited number of words used: I appreciate you lighting the candle, he said. Como? La candela. La vela. (4) On the first line of Cole's dialogue, he shows his appreciation of a kindness done for him. This act suggests some goodness in his character. This sentence is in English. The person speaking with Cole in this scene replies in Spanish, and we find that our protagonist is at least bilingual in the next line when he replies to the other speaker in Spanish. The fact that Cole knows two different Spanish words for candle suggests a more extensive understanding of his second language. Readers will find that this is not the only example of individuality indicators expressed in Cole's speech. McCarth... ... middle of paper ... ...r He decides" (60). John Grady Cole clearly does not state that the end of the world, or anything about the end of the world, will be effected by anything he does. Cole's God is in charge. Some readers may judge by word-count that Cole doesn't say very much in this novel, but such is not the case. Cormac McCarthy's protagonist, John Grady Cole, tells us a great deal about himself through his dialogue. The author of this book, like many contemporary writers, expects a lot of his readers, and rewards close examinations of his work with deep insights about his characters. The near-poetic density of the language of John Grady Cole helps the author to speak volumes without having to beat the reader over the head with obvious conclusions. "Evocal to the intelligent alone--for the rest they need interpreters." --Motto Pindar, Olympian Odes, 2:85-6

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