All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy - Individualism vs. Society

1662 Words 7 Pages
The concept of what is "individuality" and what is not has plagued and delighted man since the dawn of time. “All the Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy adds 302 more pages to the pile of all the works that have been on the quest to define individualism. In this novel, McCarthy takes us through four faces of the key character’s life, John Grady, to portray the idea of illusory individualism. He contends that John Grady is simply a product of a society in contrast to his (Grady) notion of free will. Simply put: Grady has no alternatives but an obligation to conform to society. McCarthy uses him to create the platform in which to comment on oppression of individuality, expectation of conformity to the values of the society and the fact that …show more content…
His gives us an insight of why McCarthy chose a vaquero character over a mere lad. A battle of an individual and society requires perseverance; hence a stubborn, ambitious cowboy personality was pertinent for the McCarthy’s main protagonist. Thus, the heroic acts John Grady performs are not more than what can be expected from a cowboy .

Realizing that he is fighting a losing battle, John Grady decides to chase his idealized imaginings, thereby subtly shifting the focus from his lack of control over the fate of the ranch to his assumption of control over his own fate. He then rides down south to Mexico with his companion - Rawlins. Their journey from San Angelo to Mexico seems to be accomplished flawlessly and easily. “I could get used to this life,” commented Rawlins on the imminent accomplishment of their dream – a care free life. Initially Grady, in accordance to cowboy notions, succeeds in implementing his passive personality. Firstly deserts his home land without proper goodbyes to anybody and secondly he was even contemplating on killing Blevins the first time they met (p.41). However, his passive demeanor opens to scrutiny of being spurious, when he eventually goes to an extent of putting his (Grady) own life at stake in the name of love for Blevins. He continues to diverge away from an independent, rough and tough cowboy personality to a sympathetic and caring father, when he starts acting like a father to Blevins. “What do you want to
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