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Loss of Innocence

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Ashley McKeon Mr. Wallace IB English 11 15 January 2009 Loss of Innocence Every person in his or her youth can be said to be innocent and pure, but, in time, through the experiences and relationships that one has, this innocence ebbs away. The experiences and lessons that are learned in life's journey stay with the person and help to shape who the person will grow up to be in the future. In the play "Master Harold"...and the boys (MHB) by Athol Fugard and in the novel All the Pretty Horses (ATPH) by Cormac McCarthy, loss of innocence plays a key role in developing and molding the main characters. Although the places in which these stories are set are vastly different, they both present many difficulties and hardships in the maturation of both characters. Hally, the young white boy in MHB, grows up in the harsh setting of South Africa during the early stages of Apartheid, while John Grady grows up in Texas and later journeys to the unforgiving plains of Mexico. In this paper, the loss of innocence in John Grady and Hally will be discussed by comparing and contrasting their three stages of maturity; beginning innocence, facing harsh realities, and learning from experience. ...read more.


In ATPH, John Grady and Rawlins meet and travel with a young boy named Jimmy Blevins. But later in the story Blevins is shot and killed by the Mexican police without given a fair trial. John Grady is appalled and he cannot understand how this unjust and cruel violence could happen. He later speaks to the captain of the police saying, "You didn't have to kill him...You could of just brought him back to the truck."(180) By having to deal with the loss of Blevins due to an unfair justice system, John Grady is has to face the bitter reality that the world can indeed be a violent, brutal place. Later, John Grady and Rawlins are arrested and forced to go to prison; a place filled with "depravity" and "violence" and where "every man was judged by a single standard and that was his readiness to kill."(182) In this unforgiving environment, John Grady is attacked by the vicious 'cuchillero' and ends up having to defend himself by killing the attacker. Within these harsh walls of prison life, John Grady loses whatever childhood innocence he has left. ...read more.


Thus he is left to go on without the love of his life. The author writes about this moment saying, "He saw very clearly how all his life led only to this moment and all after led nowhere at all."(254) He comes to the sad realization that love cannot always exist freely in the world. From his other tough experiences in Mexico, John Grady is left to deal with agonizing guilt for killing a man as well as the memory of Blevins getting shot unjustly and the fact that he did nothing about it. He realizes that he indeed has been changed by his experiences; so much so that when he goes back home to Texas he says, "It ain't my country."(299) And rides out on horseback, leaving his hometown behind. As both the play and the novel close, readers can see that John Grady and Hally are no longer the na�ve boys described in the beginning of the stories. In their innocence, neither knew what they were capable of doing. However, as the stories progress, Hally and John Grady come face to face with real life issues that often signal the passage from sincere innocence to harsh reality, a reality laced with discrimination, heartbreak, injustice, and death. 1496 words ?? ?? ?? ?? McKeon 1 ...read more.

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