While scholars agree that John Grady Cole is central to the meaning of All the Pretty Horses, the search for the truth of his character has largely ignored the role of truth in the novel. In this article, the authors argue that one finds in McCarthy’s text a battle over the nature truth, John Grady’s philosophical realism at odds with the world’s moral and metaphysical relativism. To follow the theme of truth in All the Pretty Horses is, the authors contend, to see that, for McCarthy, moral and metaphysical relativism threaten the possibility of a good and just world, this threat illuminating not only the arc of John Grady’s quest but McCarthy’s hope for society itself.

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