All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

all the pretty horsesThis story has a more American, cowboy like setting. It takes place in a ranch, which is no surprise. At history class at school, I finally learned about the cowboy age in America. It was during some centuries after Chirstopher Columbus had discovered the new land, which is now the Brahams islands. There were lots of good exchanges between America and Europe after that. Europe gained new crops, animals and diseases, and the same thing happened to America. One of the creatures that was transported to America, and introduced to the country was the horse. A key feature in the life of ranching in America which happened some time later. And it was all because of a voyage that caused a Captain to face lots of things–mutiny, hunger and dehydration, and the treat of sailing to unknown charted lands.

There were many things this story revolved around. Love and pride, and much many more things. It revolved around John Grady Cole, a young boy who was close to being a man, but not yet one. He was 16 and really good with horses. That’s why the story’s titled All the Pretty Horses. He was strong-willed and full of skills, making him a really good cowboy. He had justice and intelligence, making him ideal for a life at the ranch.

Lots of events tumbled to the next after that. John learned that the ranch he lived in–the same ranch his grandfather had was going to be sold, so to earn his luck, he decided to ride off with his friend, Lacey Rawlins, his best friend, for companionship for their trip to Mexico to become a cowboy. They did manage to find a job with a new addition to the team, Jimmy Belvins, who looked like he was thirteen but said he was older. They all did find the job at the ranch.

There were many things that happened during the ranch, causing lots of problems and climaxes. Like John falling in love with Don Hector–the person who offered him a job–beautiful daughter, and although was warned off, still contined the affair. There were several false confession and they were jailed, when the father found out. In all of them, out of the three boys, Belvin didn’t survive for a long time. He died at an execution, being shot at the gunshot, shortly after they escaped. John and his other best friend managed to elude it by hiding for some time under a bush.

Horses are animals that really help us in daily life or can be used to show off. Like horses used in races or farm horses pull ploughs to get the land even enough for crops. The reason why John had managed to impress Don Hector and got him his job was because of his way of handling horses. Don Hector wanted an expert–someone who knew and could get to know a horse easily.

Poverty was really common back there. In a family of eight children, only one is expected to live and become old. That was usually a man, increasing the bias thought that all woman were weak and delicate. John’s grandfather whose ranch was sold was also from a large family. He was the one who had survived the longest before finally getting killed.  During that time, disease, a wild stampede, a gunshot, or execution could easily kill. I mean, Jimmy Belvins was only around thirteen when he was executed! ‘Only the Strong Will Survive’ means only the strongest, the fastest, or the smartest could survive in the harsh world back then, and some people just could not make it.

Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He has written ten novels, spanning the southern gothic, western, and post-apocalyptic genres. He was born on July 20 (4 days before my birthday!), 1933, and aged 81 today. He had written lots of books as he lived, and most of them were turn into movies. Even this story had a movie, published in the year 2000. He has two children and two spouses. All the Pretty Horses won the National Book Award Winner. His life must be really content, having been famous, winning awards, and having a great and nice family. I hope he has a happy retirement, and live for a long time.


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