All the Pretty Horses

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Don Hector Rocha y Villarreal (the hacendado) Character Analysis

The owner of the La Purísima hacienda, where John Grady and Rawlins work for several months. Don Hector is impressed by John Grady’s skill with horses, and grants him a special position breeding his horses. He is wealthy, intelligent, and sophisticated, and also seems kind and treats John Grady with respect. However, he conforms strictly to the Mexican ideal of a woman’s honor, and feels no compunction about turning the boys in when he learns of Alejandra’s affair with John Grady.

Don Hector Rocha y Villarreal (the hacendado) Quotes in All the Pretty Horses

The All the Pretty Horses quotes below are all either spoken by Don Hector Rocha y Villarreal (the hacendado) or refer to Don Hector Rocha y Villarreal (the hacendado). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of All the Pretty Horses published in 1993.
Part 2 Quotes

They went to France for their education. He and Gustavo. And others. All these young people. They all returned full of ideas. Full of ideas, and yet there seemed to be no agreement among them. How do you account for that? Their parents sent them for these ideas, no? and they went there and received them. Yet when they returned and opened their valises, so to speak, no two contained the same thing. […] People of my generation are more cautious. I think we dont believe that people can be improved in their character by reason. That seems a very french idea.

Related Characters: Don Hector Rocha y Villarreal (the hacendado) (speaker), Gustavo Madero
Page Number: 145-146
Explanation and Analysis:

Don Hector, the owner of the hacienda, has invited John Grady into his billiard room and is discussing the history of his family and of Mexico. These histories are intertwined, since Hector's mother Alfonsa may have once been engaged to Gustavo Madero—Gustavo's brother Francisco was the first popularly elected president of Mexico, but waves of violence ultimately resulted in the death of both brothers. Here, Don Hector contrasts his own pessimism with the idealism of an earlier generation, which learned radical ideas from France (long a hotbed of revolutionary activity). For Don Hector, at least, those ideas failed, since instead of resolving Mexico's issues they only fostered greater disagreement; indeed, ultimately they fostered only greater war and violence.

In a way, Don Hector's story rewrites the book's emphasis on individual growth, and the replacement of a romantic view of the world with an understanding of reality, on a broader scale—that of an entire society. He argues that the knowledge and idealism gained by powerful ideas can be harmful, and is skeptical that "reason" alone can change people's minds or improve them. At the same time, Don Hector is not just giving John Grady an abstract history lesson. He knows that he is taking a risk by inviting a young American into his home, especially since he knows that his own daughter Alejandra is headstrong and independent. His words thus also have personal implications, prodding John Grady to have a sense of humility as he enters into this complex world.

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Don Hector Rocha y Villarreal (the hacendado) Character Timeline in All the Pretty Horses

The timeline below shows where the character Don Hector Rocha y Villarreal (the hacendado) appears in All the Pretty Horses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
...of natural springs and streams packed with wildlife and surrounded by desert. The owner Don Héctor Rocha y Villareal is one of the few hacendados (ranch owners) to actually live on... (full context)
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...Grady will surely be worn out, if he ever manages. John Grady says that the hacendado apparently has four hundred horses all over the mountain, having started a breeding program for... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...end of April, they’ve brought over 80 mares into the trap. On May second, the hacendado returns from Mexico City in his red plane. John Grady comes to the ranch house,... (full context)
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Don Héctor asks why John Grady has come to Mexico from Texas. He replies that he and... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Don Héctor asks where John Grady is from, and he seems to studies John Grady. He asks... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
...one of the new mares in the corral outside the barn. At one point Don Héctor comes outside to watch him. When John Grady is finished, he finds the hacendado in... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
In the next scene, the vaquero Antonio returns from picking up a horse the hacendado had bought unseen from the sales in Lexington, Kentucky. He’d left two months earlier with... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
John Grady asks Don Héctor if he might ride the horse, as he admires it. In the next days, John... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
...for several weeks. Antonio too loves horses, and conspires with John Grady in telling Don Héctor that the horses are more manageable when ridden regularly—John Grady loves riding, and loves when... (full context)
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
...nine days, Alejandra returns to the city. The next evening, John Grady speaks to the hacendado in the barn, but Don Héctor responds without looking at him. That evening they make... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
As they play, Don Héctor, who wins easily, tells John Grady of the history of Mexico and of Alfonsa and... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
...in the firelight, before vanishing again. Rawlins says the dogs aren’t up here by themselves—Don Héctor may be hunting them. (full context)
Part 3
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
John Grady says he had asked the officials to wake Don Héctor: they said he’d been awake a long time, and then laughed. He might have betrayed... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
...know anything about Blevins—he just asked to ride with them. They’ve been working for Don Héctor at La Purísima, he says. The captain says Rawlins is the criminal Smith, but John... (full context)
Part 4
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
...at the gerente’s door. Antonio comes out, saying that Alfonsa is at home, but Don Héctor and his daughter have left for Mexico City. No one knows when they’ll return. John... (full context)
Fate and Responsibility Theme Icon
...one is born in a certain country and not another. No one speaks of Don Héctor, Alfonsa, or Alejandra. (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
...Alfonsa is in the parlor. She stands formally and with a chilling elegance. Alfonsa says Héctor thought John Grady wouldn’t come back, but she knew he would. He asks for an... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...lovers if she didn’t stop seeing John Grady, so she told her father herself. Don Héctor had said nothing. John Grady was on the mesa at the time, and when he... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...the judge said in the court—he doesn’t feel that he was in the right. The hacendado was good to him, he says, but he believes that Don Héctor intended to kill... (full context)