Get help from the best in academic writing.

Effective Use of Dialogue in All the Pretty Horses

Effective Use of Dialogue in All the Pretty Horses

All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy, is, among other things, an exploration of its main character, John Grady Cole. The author chooses words carefully and sparingly when creating dialogue for Cole. In doing so, McCarthy creates poetic effects and rich meaning from limited verbiage. This novelist lets his readers get to know his main character largely through dialogue instead of through direct description. In this way, readers find the techniques used by McCarthy similar to those used by Ernest Hemingway in many of his books and short stories. Like the dialogue of Hemingway’s protagonists, Cole’s speech is sparse, but it is indicative of a great deal of meaning.

In Cole’s brief discourse, wise readers can find many individuality indicators that help us to understand this stoic character.

The first verbal exchange of this novel only requires 17 words of Cole. The first twelve words tell us a great deal considering the limited number of words used:

I appreciate you lighting the candle, he said.
La candela. La vela. (4)

On the first line of Cole’s dialogue, he shows his appreciation of a kindness done for him. This act suggests some goodness in his character. This sentence is in English. The person speaking with Cole in this scene replies in Spanish, and we find that our protagonist is at least bilingual in the next line when he replies to the other speaker in Spanish. The fact that Cole knows two different Spanish words for candle suggests a more extensive understanding of his second language.

Readers will find that this is not the only example of individuality indicators expressed in Cole’s speech. McCarth…

… middle of paper …

…r He decides” (60). John Grady Cole clearly does not state that the end of the world, or anything about the end of the world, will be effected by anything he does. Cole’s God is in charge.

Some readers may judge by word-count that Cole doesn’t say very much in this novel, but such is not the case. Cormac McCarthy’s protagonist, John Grady Cole, tells us a great deal about himself through his dialogue. The author of this book, like many contemporary writers, expects a lot of his readers, and rewards close examinations of his work with deep insights about his characters. The near-poetic density of the language of John Grady Cole helps the author to speak volumes without having to beat the reader over the head with obvious conclusions.

“Evocal to the intelligent alone–for the rest they need interpreters.”
–Motto Pindar, Olympian Odes, 2:85-6

Tension in Witch’s Money

Tension in Witch’s Money

In John Collier’s “Witch’s Money,” the stranger who suddenly appears in a remote mountain village in Spain is initially seen by Foiral as an unwelcome madman. Certainly his surrealist description of the landscape must seem a symptom of insanity to one unfamiliar with the trends of modern art. Once he offers a nice sum of money to buy Foiral’s house, however, the stranger is treated with a new attitude. He is still not completely accepted by the community that he has moved into, but he does wield a new type of power simply because only he can produce cash from paper billets. With his magic cheques, though, the stranger creates a tension that grows into an economic struggle between himself and his community. Even worse, the stranger unknowingly creates a conflict among the natives of the town who have been a united group. Ultimately, because of the power that the “witch’s” money brings into this community, the people of the town — once happy and content — are destroyed, and so is the community as a whole. Despite his unconventional art, this stranger is a misbegotten missionary for the decadent values of Western civilization, and with his money he brings the disease of capitalism to the innocent village.

One of the first signs of a struggle between the stranger and the community arises when the villagers voice their suspicions about him. They seem to think that the stranger is fabricating details in order to hide a secret perhaps. For example, Arago points out that the stranger claims to have “[come] from Paris” but also “that he was an American” (67). The fact that the stranger has no relations adds to the town’s suspicions. More importantly, though, Foiral and the town are skeptical about t…

… middle of paper …

…e to him'” (75).

Thus, at the end of the story the townsfolk laugh at Guis as they march to the bank to demand their money. Guis, they believe, has nothing while they have a remarkable treasure in cheques. Little do they know that disaster awaits when they demand payment for their blank cheques. When their demand is refused, their little town will no longer be happy and content. Moreover, their attempt to cash the cheques will lead to the discovery of the artist’s murder and the ruin of the village. The doors of prison will swing shut upon them as quickly as the doors of the bank do. But in reality the village has already been ruined, its innocence destroyed by the capitalistic power of witch’s money.

Works Cited

Collier, John. “Witch’s Money.” 1939. Short Story Masterpieces. Ed. Robert Penn Warren and Albert Erskine. New York: Dell, 1958. 61-75.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.