McCarthy, the American Style

As described in theNYT’s article covering the release of All the Pretty Horses, McCarthy is perhaps a part of a lost breed of American writers who  understands and is capable of crafting the old American prose. His style markedly takes cues from Faulkner – elegantly succinct with the dialogue yet still mellifluous even when long winded. He captures the nostalgia of the Old America as would be found on the dusty shelves of a southern home, and throughout his novel maintains the integrity of the dream that was the life on the ranches. Quite impressively though, McCarthy is famous for not being famous, as his “Joycean virtues” would have him elude the public’s eyes.

In All the Pretty Horses, the horses, although speechless, seem to serve a role as important as the novel’s protagonist, John Grady Cole. The symbolism represented by the horses is something larger-than-life; they embody the most sacred of the human integrity and honor, while simultaneously portraying the powerful yet fearfully beautiful Mother Nature. The humans, on the other hand, are full of flaws; they harbor dark and innate desires, fear and hatred that have essentially resulted in the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden.

One of the reasons McCarthy is considered an American master is that he knows and uses archaic forms of the English language that, although indisputably precise and elegant, are being lost in the modern times. In full control over his every word and sentence, McCarthy plays and steers the reader to whichever direction and mood he deems suitable at the moment in the novel.


~ by stephanieec on March 9, 2009.

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