Wild, Wild West? Not So Wild.
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy is the American work of art to many people. Throughout the whole novel there is a sense of a balanced concept of violence and romance. The main theme of it all is conflict: man vs. woman, rich vs. poor, and freedom vs. authority. Within the whole novel there is the notion of the cowboy, John Grady, “rediscovering” the West and the cowboy lifestyle. During this era, Westward expansion correlates with of cowboys came back.
It did not take long for the United States to expand; in the span of five years its size grew by a third. It did take the American colonists more than a century to grow and expand as far as the Appalachian Mountains, though (Moulton). Then it took yet another fifty years to get the frontier to move to the Mississippi River. Finally by 1850, pioneers pushed and moved the edge of settlement to the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest, and Texas, searching for inexpensive land and the inspired notion that Americans had a “manifest destiny” to cover across and stretch throughout the entire continent (Mintz). Men at this time were generally cowboys and in All the Pretty Horses, the ranch had been around for so long that it almost seems as if it would go through or be parallel to the lifespan of the American cowboy. But when the main cowboy, Grandpa, passes away, it is as if the ranch passes away, too. All of this correlates with time, but put into a story, the Westward expansion and All the Pretty Horses have the same ideas of what was occurring. The past and present are reoccurring relationships that are brought up throughout the novel.
Westward expansion began when President Thomas Jefferson sent a secret message to Congress, calling to have an exploration and expedition into the western area, past the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean (Paul). He told his secretary, Meriweather Lewis, to lead the exploration and gave him the instructions for the expedition, “…explore the...
Cited: Lindeblad, Bengt. American West. American Western Expansion. 2008. Web.
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Paul. Son of the South. Westward Expansion. 2008. Web. 11 November 2010.
Mintz, S. Digital History. Western Expansion. 2007. Web. 9 November 2010.
Moulton, Gary E. Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation. Discovering Lewis and
Clark. 2009. Web. 11 November 2010.
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