All the Pretty Horses

John Grady’s mother Character Analysis

An aspiring actress whom John Grady surreptitiously goes to see perform in another Texas town. Recently divorced from his father, John Grady’s mother seems to care little about ranch life in San Angelo. She had run away to California years ago, though his father tells John Grady that she returned for his sake. Still, she seems more concerned with social life than with mothering, and is often absent.
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John Grady’s mother Character Timeline in All the Pretty Horses

The timeline below shows where the character John Grady’s mother appears in All the Pretty Horses. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
...greets Luisa, the woman who’s been working for his family for years, along with her mother, Abuela, and Luisa gives him a sweetroll. He asks her in Spanish if it was... (full context)
Meaningful and Gratuitous Violence Theme Icon
...they had children. He then married his wife’s sister and they had one child: the mother of John Grady Cole—and this is the first time we learn his name. (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...says “she’s” gone to San Antonio, and his father admonishes him not to call his mother “she,” and that she can go where she wants to. His father admits he didn’t... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
John Grady returns home and walks into his grandfather’s office, where he looks at his mother’s framed high school graduation photo. Out the window he can see the old telegraph poles,... (full context)
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
John Grady’s mother, referred to as “she,” switches on the light and comes into the office to ask... (full context)
The Idea of the American West Theme Icon
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
...you can make money out of it. John Grady asks him to talk to his mother, but he says he can’t—the last real conversation they had was in California in 1942.... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...the cattle. John Grady, Luisa, and another ranch worker eat in the kitchen when his mother isn’t there, and sometimes he catches a ride into town and looks up at his... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
...goes to see Mr. Franklin, a lawyer, who tells him that the ranch is his mother’s property and she can do whatever she wants with it, especially since she and John... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
After Christmas John Grady’s mother is always absent. Luisa is often crying. One morning, John Grady carries a leather satchel... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...is, or is becoming, but he doesn’t find it. When the lights come up, his mother comes forward several times to bow. He sits for a long time in the empty... (full context)
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...order and speak to the waitress in Spanish. He walks up Broadway and watches his mother walk through the lobby of the Menger Hotel on the arm of a man in... (full context)
Romanticism and Reality Theme Icon
Innocence, Expertise, and Knowledge Theme Icon
Loyalty and Belonging Theme Icon
...his father says that means it was her who ended things. He says John Grady’s mother and he never agreed on much—he always thought it was enough that she liked horses.... (full context)