All the Pretty Horses

Maturity and Independence in All The Pretty Horses 12th Grade

The journey from childhood to maturity is guided primarily by the search for meaning. In All the Pretty Horses, protagonist John Grady Cole leaves home to find the place where he belongs in the world. Throughout the novel, John Grady chased the ideal vision of the ranch lifestyle instilled in him by his late grandfather, but was forced to reconcile his romantic dreams of the old west with a reality of violence and injustice that was less than kind to him. The sixteen-year-old set off from home in search of the answers he was always looking for but never managed to find at home, in his relationships with his estranged mother and his inadequate father.

After Grady's grandfather died and his mother sold the ranch, he was forced to re-examine his future. He even goes as far as to visit his mother to see her performing in a play but finds no answers: "He'd the notion that there would be something in the story itself to tell him about the way the world was or was becoming but there was not" (21). He might not get answers, but he knows that the kind of life his mother leads in San Antonio is not for him. He leaves home and finds comfort in the familiar desert, in embracing the rugged cowboy lifestyle that directly contrasts with the...

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