All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy takes the reader on a the journey of John Grady Cole and his friend Lacey Rawlins. John Grady Cole is a sixteen year old boy who leaves his hometown in Texas when his grandfather dies. Since Cole's parents are already split up and his mother works out of town pursuing a theater career, Cole feels there is no longer a reason for him to stay. Rawlins and Cole ride their horses south into Mexico. On their way down, they are joined by another boy, Jimmy Blevins who is a fourteen year old sharpshooter. The boys end up finding a job on a ranch in Mexico and stay for some time. Cole ends up falling in love with the daughter of the ranch owner, Alejandra. The boys face many challenges on their journey. Cole and Rawlins saw Jimmy Blevins murdered by a corrupt Mexican official. Cole and Rawlins also ended up spending a chunk of time in Mexican prison. While in prison, Cole was forced to kill someone in self defense. On top of those experiences, the boys had to face bandits and bad desert weather. Luckily, the boys are mature for their age and make it back to Texas in one piece.
1) In the novel, Cole is sent to prison and finds himself in a situation where he must kill another inmate in order to save himself. If you were in a similar situation where you had no other choice but to kill or be killed would you be able to kill another person? If you did, how do you think you would cope with the weight of murder on your mind?
2) Cole experienced quite a bit on his trip through Mexico. His experiences and the situations he was put in made him transform from a teenage boy into a young man. If you were in Cole's shoes and had seen death, prison, found love, and did it all on your own, how do you think it would change you?