"The Searchers" versus All the Pretty Horses
The American west is one of our most revered eras, romanticized by numerous forms of media in the United States. Mediums of movies, books and television shows glorify the fiction of the old west. John Ford's film "The Searchers" is an ideal example of this romanticized American West. Typically, an American Western story confines the women to home duties, having no original ideas or thoughts of their own, while the status of the hero is elevated by destroying the savage and crude Native Americans. The American hero then finds love, and rides off into the sunset triumphant. Conversely, Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses challenges the romanticized American West with the use of setting, gender roles, and the American cowboy. John Grady and Ethan are two very different characters. In both tales, the main characters interact with other cultures but, in very different ways. The typical American Western highlights a cowboy who is superior to other cultures. The romanticized American cowboy has no respect for any culture other than his own. Ethan shows this disrespect and hate early in the film by shooting the eyes out of a dead Native American so that he will have to wander between the worlds of life and death, never able to go to the heavens. Ethan hunts and slaughters many "savage" and "evil" Native Americans throughout the film. "The Searchers" romanticizes the American West myth of the righteous cowboy. All the Pretty Horses challenges this role of the American cowboy with the novel's main character: John Grady Cole. John Grady is not in search of bloodshed. Instead, John Grady is looking for a life that vanishes with the turn of the twentieth century. He is looking for a life of ranching, horses, and peacefulness. John Grady contradicts the romanticized "racist" cowboy, by valuing justice, responsibility, and loyalty. Cole treats other cultures with respect and trust. John meets the Hector family...
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