All the Pretty Horses

Exile In All The Pretty Horses 12th Grade

Edward Said creates a paradox in his statement that exile is both an “unhealable rift” and a “potent, even enriching experience”. While paradoxical, these statements hold undeniable truths about the human experience. In the novel All The Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy demonstrates this concept in the telling of the life of the main protagonist, John Grady Cole. John, an impressionable 16 year old, experiences exile in numerous ways, both mentally and physically, and each experience molds him as a person. Through his exiles, John learns the importance of loyalty and the role of fate.

The novel begins with an immediate example of exile. John is being pushed from his homeland, a small ranch in Texas. He has seemingly been left behind by all those that he cares about, as his grandfather has just died and his parents are divorced. This exile forces him to run from his home, in search of another ranch, to the mysterious Mexican countryside. Being exiled from his family creates a huge rift between them and John, something that cannot and is not fixed even in the resolution of the novel. Exile from one’s family is something that one wouldn’t wish on another, yet it occurred to John for no reason other than that’s just how his life was...

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