Sunday, March 13, 2011

All the Pretty Horses


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?

20 comments:

Kali D. 13-14 said...

2. I think going through all of these things would change my life a lot. I would feel that if i could handle all of these life changing situations, that i could handle anything that life would throw at me. All of these things are very dramatic and knowing that you can get through these would make me feel that i am i very strong person inside and out.

Kaitlyn H 11-12 said...

1. It would be difficult to actually kill someone and have to deal with the guilt the rest of your life, but if it were in self-defense, I think it would make it okay to do.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

1. I would not be able to live with the grief if I killed someone. Taking a human life, even in situations of personal defense, has a significant level of severity to me. I would think back to that person's family, and everyone that would be affected by them not being alive. I am a person who is easy to forgive people for their actions, and killing someone goes against every principle I have been raised to believe.

Courtney R 5-6 said...

1) This is very hard to think about. I'm not even sure that I have the physical strenght to protect myself in that way. Because of this, I feel as if I might try to run away instead of fighting back. If I couldn't run, I know that I would try my best to fend off the person trying to harm me. I'm not sure how I would feel if I succeeded in murdering someone. I would at least know that I didn't initiate the attack and was saving myself, but I most definitely would still feel some guilt towards the situation.

2) Seeing and going through all those changes as Cole did would most definitely change me. All these things would give me strength because I would know that in the future when more obstacles come my way, I have already gone through and acheived so much; therefore, I would have more confidence in myself.

Laura B. 13-14 said...

1) I would not want to kill the person but I do think that I would fight for my life, seeing that this is a natural instinct of the body. I do not know how I would handle this mentally because that would be something that would weigh heavy on my conscious.

Justin B. 11-12 said...

1) I believe that I would be able to kill the person threatening me. Also, remember that if it is a killing in self defense it is not considered murder. I have though a lot about this issue because in the future I plan to carry a concealed weapon for my own protection, and I have come to the conclusion that in that situation it comes down to the simple question of, how much do you value your own life? Enough to kill someone else to save it? or is it not worth that? That does not diminish the psychological impact killing another human can make however. Scout snipers in the military are asked to kill people everyday and for them every kill is personal because they control when the other person's life is over, it is a similar situation here. Many of them deal with the stress by remembering why they do/did what they do/did and I think that is how I would cope with the weight of killing another human to save myself

Megan D. 11-12 said...

I've thought about this a lot and I agree with Kaitlyn; if it was in self-defense, I could and would kill a person. In the moment I think it would be easy. You would not be thinking about that person's family or their life, or the guilt that would stay with you for the rest of you life. You would probably be thinking "I don't want to die yet" or maybe you wouldn't be thinking at all. That being said, I think I would be able to kill someone in self defense, but the recoil from that act would be the weight of eternal guilt and penance.

Deanna K 5-6 said...

1) Yes, i believe if the only way to survive was murder, i believe i would do it, but only if it was a bad person that was attacking me. I would cope with it by telling myself that it was necessary and was self defense.

2) Life experiences make you a well rounded person if you are able to learn from them. I believe it would change me for the better and me a better perspective on life.

Julie S. 5-6 said...

I would definitely kill rather than be killed but it would probably completely change the quality of the rest of my because I would be so guilty. Telling myself it was self defense would probably dampen the guilt but it would still change me.

Jacci L. 11-12 said...

1. It would completey depend on the type of situation I was put in to decide life or death. If there was another way other than killing someone I would definitaly choose to do that but if there was no way I could survive I would do everything in my power to make sure I lived without killing the other person, but only if I absolutly, and had to kill them. If I did end up doing something has horrid as killing someone in an act of self defense I would think of myself as someone I didn't even know. I would never kill someone and knowing that I did, I'd feel as if my hands were stained and dirty. The fact that my hands took away the life of someone else would completely devestate me. It's not my right to take away something as precious as life and by doing that I would hate myself.

2. If I were in Cole's shoes, I do believe that by experiencing a journey such as his does change you. Our entire life is a journey and we change as we continue to live and grow. By experiencing something such as Cole did along with the experience of life, it would change my persepective on the life I have. I could have a better view on things, on people, and on how valuable life really is and that I shouldn't take it for granted.

Natalie S Mods 5-6 said...

1) I agree and can see where both opinions are coming from. I think it would be very difficult even in self defense to actually take another human life. If I did end up killing someone, I do not know if I could handle the grief that I would suffer after doing it.
2)I also believe that going through all the experiences Cole did would make me a very strong person mentally. Cole went through things some people will never encounter in their life and he got through them before his eighteenth birthday. Cole is a strong character in my eyes and I could only hope that if I encounter everything that he does that I would be able to handle it with such grace.

Rachael B MOds 5-6 said...

If I had to make the decision to either kill or be killed, if worst came to worst, I think I might be able to muster up the strength to kill someone else. Maybe not at this age, but I feel that if I was a little bit older and had a husband and started a family, I would have other people to live for. I know a lot of times that during these life or death situations, people end up doing unimaginable and unspeakable things that they never thought they would ever have the strength to do. I think in these moments your true love for others in addition to the adrenaline rush could definately influence me to make the rash decision to kill someone else.

Bojana D 11.12 said...

1. If I were in the situation to kill or be killed, I would kill. If it was because of personal defense, I would fight hard to try to stay alive. I don't think I would have a ton of guilt on my mind. Yes, I committed murder, but it was in order to save my own being.

2. I think that I would definatly grow as a person and realize that life shouldn't be taken for granted. Experiencing death and prison would change me forever and make me appreciate life and freedom much more.

Kristen R. 11-12 said...

I definitely agree with Rachael. To answer the first question, if I had absolutely no other choice but to kill someone out of self-defense, I think that I would be able to do it. Although I would consider the person's family and everyone that might be affected by his or her death, I think that adrenaline would take over, thus dismissing those thoughts. I would value my own life and consider the lives of my loved ones more so than I would with this other person. I would cope with the weight of murder on my mind by reminding myself that it was done out of protection for my own life. To answer the second question, I think it would definitely make me a stronger, more independent person. I would realize the true meaning of hard work and fending for one's self in order to accomplish goals and succeed in life. I think it would be difficult at times but very beneficial in the end.

Emily C. 13-14 said...

1. I probably wouldnt be able to say unless i was in the situation but i would probably be able to if it was a life or death matter. I think killing someone would be very hard to deal with even if i know that they are a bad person and were trying to kill me.

Betsy C 1314 said...

To answer the second question, I think that I would be very different after the experiences. It would be horrible to see murder, prison, but then oddly satisfying to do it on your own. I would definitely be more mature and able to be on my own sufficiently.

Leah A 5-6 said...

1. I think it is easier said then done to kill someone. However if it was in self-defense, I would. Killing someone would be very hard mental struggle because I would have to live with the guilt.

Vanessa D. 13-14 said...

2.) I definitely think that going through all of those things would make me grow up very very quickly. I personally went through a few family situations in which I had to step up and be the adult, and it really changes you as a person. Going through experiences allows us to grow as people and also mature.

KatherineS13-14 said...

1) If I was in a kill or be killed situation, I would be able to kill another person in self defense. I value and love my love and I would not give it up to someone that was trying to kill me.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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