Listen carefully to the opening scenes of "All the Pretty Horses." Something interesting is going on. The dialogue, by , is put in the foreground of the soundtrack instead of being surrounded by the ambience. It remains at the same volume from scene to scene. It overlaps a little strangely--anticipating or tarrying--so that we understand the words are not being illustrated by the pictures, but are evoking them. Indoors, outdoors, the presence of the dialogue dominates the track, and natural noises and music are in the background. Thornton goes to a more naturalistic sound style later in the film, but at the beginning he seems to be reminding us that this is a memory being told.
Barbara Kingsolver’s, The Poisonwood Bible, as well as Cormac McCarthy’s, All The Pretty Horses, deals with this issue through its plethora of themes and symbols.
The Sacred Grove of Oshogbo was one place I had been looking forward to visiting in Nigeria. As prevalent as indigenous religions still are in West Africa, it is often hard to find public expressions of them in towns and cities; the Christianity brought by European slavers and colonialists has taken root and pushed most of these religions out of mainstream life. But in the Sacred Grove shrines honor all the local deities, including Obatala, the god of creation, Ogun, the god of iron, and Oshun, the goddess of water, whose aqueous essence is made manifest by the river running through the trees. The place is unique in the Yoruba religion, and that intrigued me.
Read Mark Twain's little piece (below) about the troubles he has with his new watch, as another example of narrative writing. (There is very little in the way of paragraphing in this narrative, and as you read along you might want to think about how you would break this piece into smaller units of thought for your reader.) Answer the questions we pose after Twain's essay and apply them as well to Jeffrey Tayler's essay above.
2. Analyze McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses as a hero’s journey. Show how the novel fits into the genre. Look at the handouts on the hero's journey and analyze how the book fits into the phases of Innocence, Initiation, Chaos, and Resolution. What has John Grady learned in the end? How has he returned as a man? Is he a hero? Use specific examples and quotations from throughout the novel to support your analysis.
Billy Bob Thornton's "All the Pretty Horses" is an elegiac Western about two young cowboys, and then a third, who ride from Texas into Mexico in search of what may be left of the Old West. The movie is really as simple as that. It touches on adventure and romance, but isn't really about them. It's about the mythical idea of heading south on a good horse, with a change of clothes, some camp gear and a gun, and seeing what happens. It takes place in 1949. A few years later, its heroes would have headed down Route 66 in a Chevy convertible.
My uncle William (now deceased, alas!) used tosay that a good horse was a good horse until it hadrun away once, and that a good watch was a goodwatch until the repairers got a chance at it. And heused to wonder what became of all the unsuccessfultinkers, and gunsmiths, and shoemakers, and engineers, and blacksmiths; but nobody could ever tell him.
Do not forget that the business of the essay is to make a point. In his essay, Orwell succeeds in portraying the horrors of an imperialist state, showing how the relationship between the oppressed Burmese and the British oppressor is dehumanizing to both. When writing a narrative, it is easy to get caught up in the telling of the story and forget that, eventually, our reader is going to ask So What? and there had better be an answer.
Thornton cares about the story, I think, but he's not distracted by it. The real subject of his movie is the feeling of being young, on horseback, in a foreign country, in trouble, and in love. "All the Pretty Horses" reminds me, in a strange way, of "," another new movie. The two films have nothing in common except for how much they want to fix in the memory the way it was to be at that place, at that time: They use dialogue as if it were music, to establish a mood.
1. Write an essay analyzing the central theme of All the Pretty Horses: in this uncaring, cruel, and violent world, there is still great beauty. There is no life without bloodshed. Choose a few key scenes or lines and use them to analyze McCarthy’s development of the theme. Be sure to use direct quotations and keep your analysis closely tied to the text.
Accordingly, in Augustine's view, any hypothetically perfect things (like God or heaven in Christian theology) by definition do not and cannot change, and therefore these perfect things must not experience time as imperfect humanity does. They are sub specie aeternitatis, outside of time completely and viewing all things in the bubble at time simultaneously. Accordingly, states of time (past, present, and future) are merely illusions we experience. The past only appears to be over and the future only appears not to have happened yet because our mortal perception is limited to the present moment rather than experiencing all reality at once. In Saint Augustine's thinking, perfect and spiritual beings outside of time experience or observe past, present, and future simultaneously. For Saint Augustine, this idea of time allows God to have knowledge of future events and choices humans make while preserving human free will, suggesting God can know what choices we will make tomorrow (because we actually have already made the choices), without God necessarily causing those choices to happen through his own influence--foreknowledge without causation. In terms of God's perceptions, all those future choices already happened and are done with--humans just don't know it yet.