The book All the Pretty Horses is a western drama about teenage cowboys as they transition from adolescence into manhood. The author, Cormac McCarthy, structures the book using echo words and parallel structure that links dialogue exchanges and makes the scenes flow smoothly. McCarthy is a master of this sort of repetition and uses this structure throughout the entire book. There are many examples of this used throughout the book, but the author primarily focuses on the interpersonal relationships, diversity, and change.
There are many different types of relationships based on a very vast scale. John Grady Cole has many complicated and some not-so-complicated relationships with his friends and family members. In book 1, McCarthy informs the audience that John Grady’s parents are divorced and in book 4, John Grady’s wife, Alejandra, leaves him. When John Grady flees Texas in book 1, he has the expectations that any sixteen year old cowboy might have.
It is ironic that he ends up experiencing events and overcoming obstacles he never thought would occur, including falling in love and then getting his heart broken by his wife. John Grady Cole’s relationships with the leading women in the novel are also peculiar in the way that the women discipline him. In book 1 it was his mother and the servants in the house, and in book 4 Duena Alfonsa definitely gets her way with him. Alfonsa warns John Grady when he is about to cross the line with Alejandra, and then later in the book when she bails him out of jail.
In a way, John Grady has to rely on the women which is comforting since he is on a journey of growing up, yet he still falls back on others to guide him. Another parallel relationship occurs in book 1 when John Grady meets with his father who tells him to forgive his mother. In book 4, John Grady seeks the judge for advice and to confess a crime he committed; the judge tells him he should forgive himself. John Grady has a good heart, tries to do the right thing, and reassures himself by going to others for advice.
John Grady’s choice in his friendships and choices effect who he has strong relationships with throughout the book and he maintains his strategy through both book 1 and book 4. Another key parallel theme in the book revolves around diversity between John Grady’s homeland-the United States- and his new home in Mexico. On page 25 of book 1 it says, “The last thing his father said was that the country would never be the same” which relates to book 4 in many ways. One relation occurs on page 299 which states, “I don’t know, said John Grady…I don’t know what happens to a county. In this scene he is reflecting on how things have changed and how there are many differences between events on his homeland in Texas and the events that occur in Mexico. A more direct relation is in book 1 when the boys (John Grady, Rawlins, and Blevins) cross the Rio Grande naked and then in book 4 when John Grady crosses Rio Grande naked-heading back to Texas. The sense of home and the countries boarder really affects John Grady and how he makes decisions based on where he is.
The last key theme in the book concerns how John Grady changes during the course of the novel. In book 1 John Grady is ignorant to reality and is just looking for an adventure. On page 5 of book 1 it states, “He stood like a man come to the end of something. ” This quote is ironic because it saying that John Grady is posing as a man at the end of something which is silly since it’s just the beginning of the story. The parallel event that corresponds to this occurs on page 254 of book 4 which states, he “saw clearly how his life led to this moment. This simple phrase shows that John Grady really observed and reflected on how he accomplished the transition into manhood, and by doing this, changed emotionally and spiritually into a more well-rounded human being. McCarthy really is an outstanding author by being able to use parallel events and echoed sentences between book 1 and book 4. He really accomplished his themes and getting his audience to understand the importance of parallel events that have to do with relationships, diversity, and change.