All the Pretty Horses: Gender Roles Defined

Topics: Female, Male, Horse Pages: 3 (1085 words) Published: December 4, 2013
All the Pretty Horses would be widely considered a fairly typical western in the traditional sense. There are many of the common western tropes that exist explicitly and implicitly within the novel. While much of the idealistic “western” characteristics appear in a blatant manner, the novel is laced with incidents and dialogue of seemingly little consequence or significance at first glance. There are many occurrences which are overlooked in the story that represent and support a common and major idea that is stated in a more major or explicit form at other times. The role of gender is one such idea.

In the early stages of the novel, the conflict which sets the entire story in motion takes place as Cole’s mother has decided to sell the ranch now that his grandfather has died. Cole is distraught over this as the ranch is his desired lot in life. He attempts to talk to the family’s attorney after attempts at persuasion with his mother fail only to reach similar end. The reasoning the attorney postulates for his mother’s decision is a minute detail of the scene but brings about an interesting and potentially underlying idea throughout the story. His rationalizes her motives on the basis that, “she’s a young woman and my guess is that she’s like to have a little more social life than what she’s used to” (McCarthy 17). This determination does not come off as explicitly judgmental but simply a plausibly suggestion for her actions. Upon closer examination however, it proves to be more meaningful.

The attorney is asserting Cole’s mother’s social life as a legitimate reason for her to forfeit the ranch her father had built from the ground up and worked so hard for. There is no such concern mentioned for the sixteen year old John Grady whom is interested in not only keeping the ranch, but running it himself. The adolescent stage of life in generally considered the pinnacle of social importance in society as adult relationships begin to form and develop. This is a...
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