All the Pretty Horses

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Lacey Rawlins Character Analysis

John Grady’s childhood friend, a seventeen-year-old who grew up on a neighboring ranch. Rawlins is also a good horseback rider, though he doesn’t have John Grady’s natural gift with horses. Lacey isn’t as committed as John Grady is to escaping to Mexico. Once there, though, he has a sharper sense of the dangers present, and is always keeping an eye out for potential threats. Rawlins initially thinks it’s ridiculous for them to adopt Blevins, who exasperates him by talking too much and telling obviously fabricated stories. Rawlins is hard on Blevins, cursing at him and making fun of him, but he seems almost more devastated than John Grady at Blevins’ death. Rawlins knows from the start that it’s a bad idea for John Grady to have an affair with Alejandra, and he too suffers the consequences when they’re thrown in prison. Rawlins’ friendship with John Grady never fully recovers, though he remains loyal to his friend throughout the novel.

Lacey Rawlins Quotes in All the Pretty Horses

The All the Pretty Horses quotes below are all either spoken by Lacey Rawlins or refer to Lacey Rawlins. 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 1 Quotes

They heard somewhere in that tenantless night a bell that tolled and ceased where no bell was and they rode out on the round dais of the earth which alone was dark and no light to it and which carried their figures and bore them up into the swarming stars so that they rode not under but among them and they rode at once jaunty and circumspect, like thieves newly loosed in that dark electric, like young thieves in a glowing orchard, loosely jacketed against the cold and ten thousand worlds for the choosing.

Related Characters: John Grady Cole, Lacey Rawlins
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage is typical of Cormac McCarthy's prose, with its lack of punctuation and rousing descriptions that carry the reader along breathlessly. John Grady and Rawlins have just left, late at night, to run away to Mexico. The world seems vast and empty to them, but rather than terrifying this proves beguiling to them both: they revel in feeling like the night belongs to them, and that the land over which they ride is also available for them, beckoning them in endless "worlds" of possibilities. 

As John Grady departs with Rawlins, he is simultaneously constructing a narrative about the deeper meaning of their departure. They are not just running away from home, as he sees it, but also taking part in a story of their own creation. He imagines them as "thieves" confidently riding into the night rather than two teenagers escaping their family obligations. John Grady tends to see the land of the West as wide-open, simply waiting for him to encounter adventures wherever he might find them. He has little sense at this point of the real-world compromises of this land, or even of the other people and groups with their own complicated histories also populating this space. 

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Way the world is. Somebody can wake up and sneeze somewhere in Arkansas or some damn place and before you’re done there’s wars and ruination and all hell. You dont know what’s goin to happen. I’d say He’s just about got to. I don’t believe we’d make it a day otherwise.

Related Characters: Lacey Rawlins (speaker)
Related Symbols: Religion
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

Rawlins and John Grady have narrowly escaped being caught by ranchers as Blevins was trying to get "his" horse back. They've lost Blevins, and Rawlins has expressed some concern about the boy's safety, even though both he and John Grady have been exasperated at Blevins's naiveté when he was tagging along. 

Rawlins has a greater tendency to voice his religious thoughts and doubts than John Grady, and several times over the course of this book he treats his friend as a sounding board for such questions. His suggestion here is about the interrelation of seemingly disjointed events. These connections can be so obscure and so complex, he says, that mere human beings do not stand a chance at unraveling the true causes of events; there must be a God, then, who is beyond it. The existence of a God who has written a script backing up all the causes and consequences of worldly affairs would be comforting, at least, as it would mean that Rawlins would not have to imagine himself in a meaningless void. But if all human actions are ultimately directed by a divine force, it is unclear to what extent human beings are responsible for their own actions. This is a problem that the book will return to again and again, as John Grady and Rawlins consider the consequences of their own actions, and their own responsibility for other people. 

Part 3 Quotes

But some things aint reasonable. Be that as it may I’m the same man you crossed that river with. How I was is how I am and all I know to do is stick. I never even promised you you wouldnt die down here. Never asked your word on it either. I dont believe in signing on just till it quits suitin you.

Related Characters: John Grady Cole (speaker), Lacey Rawlins
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

John Grady and Rawlins have been captured by guards and led away from Don Hector's hacienda, quite possibly at Don Hector's command (because of John Grady's budding relationship with Alejandra). They have reached the town of Encantada, and neither of the boys knows what is going to happen to them, or even what they may be charged for. Rawlins is sulking, angry at John Grady for having gotten them both into this mess. Here John Grady attempts to defend himself through two arguments. First, he says that he hasn't changed, and indeed wouldn't know how to change if he wanted to. All they can do is accept what the world has in store for them, and react to it the best way that they know how. Second, John Grady appeals to Rawlins's sense of loyalty, which he knows is strong in his friend, and to the value of determination in refusing to "quit" each other when things become difficult.

John Grady watched the small ragged figure vanish limping among the trees with his keepers. There seemed insufficient substance to him to be the object of men’s wrath. There seemed nothing about him sufficient to fuel any enterprise at all.

Related Characters: John Grady Cole, Lacey Rawlins, Jimmy Blevins, The captain
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

The prison guards have loaded John Grady, Rawlins, and Blevins into a truck to carry them to some unknown place. They pause somewhere far from any civilization, and the captain takes one of the guard's guns and leads Blevins away into the woods, where he will shoot the boy. Meanwhile, John Grady and Rawlins remain in the truck, knowing that there is nothing that they can do, and until the last moment imagining that something else will happen.

This is the first moment in the book where John Grady and Rawlins are made to confront seemingly meaningless violence, spurred by rules and customs that they cannot understand, rather than merely hearing about such violence from other people. The brute force of Blevins's murder is so incomprehensible to John Grady, as shown in this passage, because it clashes with how small and unthreatening he knows Blevins to be. It is not that John Grady will mourn the loss of Blevins as a friend—Blevins is not like Rawlins to him—but he cannot understand why such an effort has been mounted to hurt and kill someone so harmless. John Grady is brought face-to-face here with the tragic gap between powerful institutions and fragile human beings, as well as the gap between his idealistic view of Mexico and the reality of the situation in which he finds himself.

You dont understand the life here. You think the struggle is for these things. Some shoelaces or some cigarettes or something like that. The lucha. This is a naïve view. You know what is naïve? A naïve view. The real facts are always otherwise. You cannot stay in this place and be independent peoples. You dont know what is the situation here. You dont speak the language.

Related Characters: Emilio Pérez (speaker), John Grady Cole, Lacey Rawlins
Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:

The prison where John Grady and Rawlins are housed is supposedly guarded over by the state, but the boys soon learn that the real authorities in the jail are certain prisoners, in particular Emilio Pérez, who rules the place through bribery, corruption, and intimidation. Like the captain, Emilio Pérez expresses to John Grady a cynical, stark view of institutional reality. John Grady and Rawlins have come to recognize that even the smallest possessions, like cigarettes, are part of a dangerous, shifting economic system—yet Emilio Pérez tells them that the reality of prison life goes far beyond those material trades. The prison, he claims, is its own social microcosm with its own tribes and leaders. The two boys cannot understand this world, not only because they are Americans, but because they do not yet speak the "language" of these social relationships. Even after having confronted violence and cynicism head-on, the boys still have to be disabused of the idea that they can simply adapt to the new circumstances by following their reason, or their thoughts on what this new life is like. They can only learn "the language" through their own harsh experiences.

I never thought I’d do that.
You didnt have no choice.
I still never thought it.
He’d of done it to you.
He drew on the cigarette and blew the smoke unseen into the darkness. You dont need to try to make it right. It is what it is.

Related Characters: John Grady Cole (speaker), Lacey Rawlins (speaker)
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:

John Grady has just killed another prisoner, and he is expressing the shock of what seems to have been an almost disembodied experience: he repeats to Rawlins that he never could have imagined doing such a thing. In claiming that John Grady had to kill the man, since he would have been killed himself otherwise, Rawlins is trying to comfort his friend, and also to in some way justify John Grady's actions.

John Grady refuses to accept any easy answers or justifications for why he killed. At this moment, John Grady's thoughts on the captain after he killed Blevins—thoughts expressed in a quotation above—come back to haunt him: John Grady has now joined the ranks of that class of murderers that he once perceived as so divided from the rest of the world. Even then, John Grady had considered the captain as possessing some kind of powerful secret, but now John Grady hardly revels in his new status—he has gained unique knowledge and experience, but has also lost a crucial kind of innocence forever. Now, though John Grady doesn't seem particularly emotional about his guilt, he is still apparently committed to bearing the burden of his actions and taking responsibility for them.

Part 4 Quotes

They were saddened that he was not coming back but they said that a man leaves much when he leaves his own country. They said that it was no accident of circumstance that a man be born in a certain country and not some other and they said that the weathers and seasons that form a land form also the inner fortunes of men in their generations and are passed on to their children and are not so easily come by otherwise.

Related Characters: Lacey Rawlins
Page Number: 226
Explanation and Analysis:

John Grady has returned to Don Hector's ranch, this time without Rawlins, and he shares everything that has happened with the other vaqueros. As they express sorrow for not being able to see Rawlins again, the vaqueros simultaneously seem to understand his desire to return home. In general, this group has throughout the book seemed confident that there is an underlying order to human affairs. It makes sense to them that a person could be so tied to his or her native land because fate dictated that connection: indeed, much of their belief seems to rest on the deep intertwining of the human and the natural, the seasons and the "inner fortunes" of people. Americans or Mexicans, they imply, bear within them the actions of their ancestors and the things that happened on their land, and must take on that burden as they choose how to act themselves. 

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Lacey Rawlins Character Timeline in All the Pretty Horses

The timeline below shows where the character Lacey Rawlins appears in All the Pretty Horses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
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Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
In the next scene, John Grady and his friend Lacey Rawlins are lying outside in the dark on saddle blankets. Rawlins asks what John Grady plans... (full context)
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That night, John Grady and Rawlins lie out beneath the stars. Rawlins asks if John Grady has told his father about... (full context)
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Late that night, John Grady meets Rawlins in front of his house with their two horses. They ride across the open pasture... (full context)
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...around old car parts strewn around the highway to a roadside café and order breakfast. Rawlins points to distant mountains and says that’s where they’re headed. After eating they go outside,... (full context)
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The boys follow a valley west, and Rawlins shoots a rabbit, which they clean to eat later. As they’re cooking it that night,... (full context)
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...country and then into a town, Pandale. They’re dirty and dusty and John Grady tells Rawlins he looks like a desperado. The woman at the deli is impressed that the boys... (full context)
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...with a vista over the grass-covered country to the south. At a stand of cedars, Rawlins suggests they wait on the follower. (full context)
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...broadbrim hat and overalls, riding a beautiful, big bay horse, approaches them. He’s about thirteen. Rawlins asks if he’s following them, and the kid denies it, saying he’s going to Langtry.... (full context)
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...under willow trees. After a nap, John Grady sees the same boy riding towards them. Rawlins says they should remount and get away: they’re both feeling uneasy about him. Rawlins gets... (full context)
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They cross that night under the moon, and the horses have to swim by midriver. Rawlins holds his rifle in the air and they look like a band of marauders. Once... (full context)
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They camp at the edge of a plain, and when Rawlins asks, Blevins says he last ate several days ago. John Grady and Rawlins tell him... (full context)
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...John Grady asks in Spanish for something to drink, and she hands them cider, which Rawlins pays for with a dollar bill with a hole at each end. They walk outside... (full context)
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John Grady and Rawlins sleep in the back of the house, and John Grady says that the estancia owner... (full context)
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...the old days, this would be where the Comanches would lie in wait for travelers. Rawlins notes that the road seems deserted, and Blevins replies that it used to have far... (full context)
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That night they camp off the road and stare into the embers of their fire. Rawlins tells Blevins how good a horse rider John Grady is—that he can outride anyone he’s... (full context)
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In the following days, they ride toward the distant cordilleras (mountain ranges) at the horizon. Rawlins wonders how to get there—it looks like paradise. He remarks how huge a country this... (full context)
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...next morning it’s cold, and they drink the last of their coffee around a fire. Rawlins asks how long they’ll last on coffee and cold tortillas, but John Grady says he... (full context)
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...and builds the fire over it, saying that the Indians do it that way. When Rawlins asks if he’s ever eaten a jackrabbit, he says he hasn’t. (full context)
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Rawlins asks Blevins where he’s from, and he says Uvalde County on the Sabinal River. He... (full context)
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When Rawlins asks why Blevins wanted to go to Mexico, he says it was for the same... (full context)
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...Instead, they buy a canteen of sotol (an alcoholic drink) and are drunk by evening. Rawlins catches sight of Blevins’ horse with an empty saddle, and they turn back to see... (full context)
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...crack of thunder Blevins rides out towards the north, losing his hat as he goes. Rawlins says he won’t take any responsibility for him—he’ll fall off and the horse will be... (full context)
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...of drowning than of getting hit by lightning. John Grady rides back up to tell Rawlins Blevins is just sitting there, and Rawlins says he knew the boy was crazy. (full context)
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John Grady and Rawlins take shelter under a rock overhang. At one point they hear a horse running in... (full context)
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...gone. He doesn’t know what he’ll do. John Grady says Blevins probably knows he’s worn Rawlins out. John Grady rides downriver and finds Blevins’ sopping wet shirt. He hoists Blevins up... (full context)
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Blevins asks if John Grady will ask them about his horse. Rawlins says he won’t get his horse back, and they should trade his pistol for clothes... (full context)
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...others, Blevins asks again about his horse, but John Grady says they don’t have him. Rawlins asks what’s wrong, but he tells them to hurry up and mount the horses. They... (full context)
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That night, with Blevins sleeping wrapped in a blanket, Rawlins says he looks pitiful. He asks if John Grady has thought about Rawlins’ suggestion to... (full context)
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...engine of a Dodge car. John Grady grabs Blevins before he slides off the horse. Rawlins says they should stash the boy somewhere safe while he and John Grady look around.... (full context)
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Rawlins tells John Grady that for every dumb thing he’s ever done, there was an earlier... (full context)
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...and they’ll try to help him get it back. Blevins looks at the ground, and Rawlins exclaims that they could get shot dead for horse stealing, but that doesn’t seem to... (full context)
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...He doesn’t come back. Dogs start to bark through the town, and lights go on. Rawlins curses, and all at once they see Blevins on his bay horse, surrounded by howling... (full context)
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...the road, while they slip into the country. He gallops away and John Grady and Rawlins ride through the brush in the dark. They hear horses on the road at some... (full context)
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As Rawlins starts wondering how long it’s been since they’ve eaten, they hear riders from far away.... (full context)
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Toward evening, they come across a band of sheepherders, but Rawlins suggests they continue, since he’s had enough of natives in this part of the country.... (full context)
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In the morning, Rawlins goes off to scavenge and finds nopal fruit. As they eat, John Grady says the... (full context)
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They ride all day, finally finding water at noon. That evening, Rawlins manages to shoot a buck, which they cook over a fire. They’re impatient to eat.... (full context)
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Rawlins asks if John Grady thinks God looks out for people, and they both agree that... (full context)
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...turns and smiles to them, and each of the vaqueros tips his hat to her. Rawlins exclaims about the girl to John Grady, who doesn’t answer, still looking down the road... (full context)
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...help drive the cattle into a holding pen. Afterward the vaqueros introduce John Grady and Rawlins to the gerente (manager), who seats them in the kitchen to ask about their understanding... (full context)
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That night, Rawlins whispers that the vaqueros seem to be good men, though he wonders if they think... (full context)
Part 2
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As Part 2 begins, we learn some background about the ranch where John Grady and Rawlins have arrived, the Hacienda de Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción, an 11,000-hectare ranch in... (full context)
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For two days, John Grady and Rawlins brand, castrate, dehorn and inoculate the cattle in the holding pens. On the third day... (full context)
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Rawlins and John Grady walk over to the kitchen, where they tell the gerente that they... (full context)
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...but like a wild animal. He strokes the horse and speaks to it quietly. Meanwhile, Rawlins makes a slipnoose from the rope and hitches it around the horse’s legs. They fit... (full context)
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...over the animal’s skin to calm it. Then he places a saddle on it, as Rawlins unties the ropes and steps away. John Grady mounts, and the horse seems relatively tame,... (full context)
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John Grady and Rawlins walk down to the bunkhouse, and several people offer them mescal (an alcoholic drink) on... (full context)
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On the fourth day, Rawlins stays in the trap and John Grady rides one of the horses away from the... (full context)
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...nods; he and the gerente look over the other horses before leaving. John Grady and Rawlins look at each other, then unsaddle the horses and head to dinner. When John Grady... (full context)
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Three days later, John Grady and Rawlins are sent into the mountains with three young vaqueros from the country. A mozo (server)... (full context)
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In the next scene, John Grady and Rawlins are sitting on the bunkhouse bed, and Rawlins tells John Grady it’s a good opportunity... (full context)
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A week later, John Grady, Rawlins, Luis the mozo, and two vaqueros go up into the mountains. After the others are... (full context)
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...In a tienda (shop) they sort through the clothes and buy socks and boots for Rawlins, who says he always wanted to be a “badman.” (full context)
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...cans holding lights and colored crepe, casting shadows on the floor and walls. John Grady, Rawlins, and another boy from the ranch toast their bottles of mescal to the “chicas,” or... (full context)
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John Grady rides back alone, since he doesn’t see Rawlins at the barn. A mile from town a car full of young men passes and... (full context)
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John Grady and Rawlins sit on the mesa (plateau) watching a storm from the north, and John Grady tells... (full context)
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One day John Grady and Rawlins are sitting in the bunkhouse smoking and waiting for supper when, suddenly, they see five... (full context)
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John Grady lies awake until dawn, and in the morning Rawlins says he looks terrible: Rawlins hopes he knows what he’s doing. After working with the... (full context)
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Two days later John Grady and Rawlins ride into the mountains again, camping in the same spot as they had before with... (full context)
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...lead him out of the bunk. They lead him into the barn, where he sees Rawlins sitting slumped in his horse’s saddles. They all ride out two by two, the vaqueros... (full context)
Part 3
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...first crossed four months earlier. At a break for lunch, John Grady sits and watches Rawlins, who won’t meet his eyes. The guards say little to each other and nothing to... (full context)
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...and then laughed. He might have betrayed them because of some lie, he says, but Rawlins says it could have been for some truth as well. John Grady says he can’t... (full context)
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Blevins doesn’t know how long he’s been there, but it’s a long time. Rawlins accuses him of telling the guards to hunt them, but Blevins denies it. Still, they... (full context)
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Rawlins says Blevins doesn’t know how much trouble he’s in. Blevins assumes he’ll be sent to... (full context)
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In the morning two guards handcuff Rawlins and lead him away to the captain, who’s reading a three-day-old newspaper. He asks for... (full context)
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The captain insists Rawlins tell him his real name. He says Blevins is Rawlins’ brother, and asks how many... (full context)
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...them to keep quiet about Blevins. He says he thinks they want to kill Blevins. Rawlins says maybe they won’t, and, looking away, curses. (full context)
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...could have tried to help him out, put in a good word for him, and Rawlins starts yelling and cursing at him. Damn you to hell, he keeps repeating, almost in... (full context)
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Three days later John Grady, Blevins, and Rawlins are led from their cell onto a truck. The captain and guards exchange words they... (full context)
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...“Vámonos” (Let’s go), but “just the boy.” Blevins asks what they’re going to do, and Rawlins says they won’t do anything. When he looks at John Grady, John Grady says nothing.... (full context)
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...occupy another space, the privilege to those of the “irreclaimable act”—murder—to which John Grady and Rawlins are barred access. Once someone chooses that world he cannot leave it. The captain says... (full context)
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...prisoners’ names is called, which takes an hour, but neither of them is on it. Rawlins jokes that they must not be in prison, then. They spend the entire first day... (full context)
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...the third day. After that they buy soap and tomato soup and try to recover. Rawlins wonders why no one’s looked after them better, if they think they’re rich Americans, as... (full context)
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Rawlins asks John Grady about the Spanish lingo he’s picked up here: words for cigarette butt,... (full context)
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...and a carpet. He says to them that they enjoy fighting, and John Grady cuts Rawlins off to say yes, they do. Pérez says that Americans don’t stay long here—they don’t... (full context)
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...have time. He can only help them if they show him faith. John Grady and Rawlins push back their chairs and rise, and Pérez says they’re very foolish. He has power... (full context)
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The next morning, an unknown man with a knife stabs Rawlins with an Italian switchblade. Rawlins runs to John Grady, and they cross the quadrangle to... (full context)
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...Spanish, assuming it was from servants. Pérez asks why John Grady believes he’s responsible for Rawlins, and when John Grady says he’s not there to do business but just to ask... (full context)
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...has cojones, if he’s brave, so that the world can decide how much he’s worth. Rawlins isn’t dead, he tells John Grady, who pushes back his chair. Pérez says he hopes... (full context)
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...desk. The comandante slides an envelope to him, and John Grady asks where his friend Rawlins is. He says he’s outside. The comandante says they’re leaving, which John Grady finds difficult... (full context)
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...that the comandante had slid to him. As they eat their steaks and fried potatoes, Rawlins lights a cigarette and asks why they’re not dead. Alfonsa the aunt must have paid... (full context)
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Rawlins says he knows John Grady wants to go back to the ranch for Alejandra and... (full context)
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Rawlins gestures towards a kid across the street trying to sell newspapers, yelling to an empty... (full context)
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Rawlins and John Grady find a hotel room and, after showering, talk about how they’re going... (full context)
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The next morning, they buy new clothes and hats and buy Rawlins a ticket to Nuevo Laredo. They tell each other to take care, and John Grady... (full context)
Part 4
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...with them, and he tells him about everything that happened. They’re sad not to see Rawlins, but they say a man leaves much in leaving his country, and that it is... (full context)
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...house where the charro comes out, seeming confused. John Grady says he wants his horse. Rawlins’ horse is also in a mud barn behind the house. John Grady takes the reins... (full context)
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...out the ten kilometers. At the corral John Grady dismounts, draws his pistol, and leads Rawlins’ horse through the gate. He calls out to Redbo, who whinnies at him. Suddenly a... (full context)
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...finds the horse’s owner. In March, he heads back to San Angelo and reaches the Rawlins’. He whistles below Rawlins’ room, and Rawlins exclaims that Junior, Rawlins’ horse, is there. He... (full context)