Borders, barriers, and crossings: Cormac McCarthy's “All the Pretty Horses” and “The Crossing”




Short, Stacy Kay

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis explores the borders, barriers, and crossings of Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and The Crossing. Within each of the novels, McCarthy's uses the main characters, the land, and the culture to show that when man crosses over boundaries, violence and chaos may ensue. Both novels include the crossing metaphor, and within each novel, the characters violate the unwritten and written laws that man put in place with each boundary: whether physically, culturally, or universally. The characters cross through spiritual, mystical and sometimes transcendent boundaries as well. All the Pretty Horses builds the idea that crossing physical boundaries violates the codes of the land; but the story also analyzes the transcendent boundaries through dreams, history, and references to the future. The Crossing incorporates the physical boundaries, but relies more heavily on the spiritual and transcendent crossings, as well as the idea that life continues and is the tale man becomes.



Modern literature, American literature, Language, literature, and linguistics