All the Pretty Horses

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Now a major motion picture from Columbia Pictures starring Matt Damon, produced by Mike Nichols, and directed by Billy Bob Thornton. The national bestseller and the first volume in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy, All the Pretty Horses is the tale of John Grady Cole, who at sixteen finds himself at the end of a long line of Texas ranchers, cut off from the only life he has ever imagined for himself. With two companions, he sets off for Mexico on a sometimes idyllic, sometimes comic journey to a place where dreams are paid for in blood. Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.
Curriculet Details
73 Questions
63 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 9th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining the setting of the novel, difficult words, and information about the author and his motivations. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about literary devices. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of author's purpose, summarization, and word choice/diction. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Table of Contents

The video below offers you a review of the book. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter 1 - I

Below, you will find the definition of the highlighted word. (This annotation contains a link)
Read the article below. While doing so, pay close attention to the author's words about McCarthy's influences and reason for not using a lot of punctuation. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
The highlighted sentence contains an example of which literary device?If you are having trouble remembering the definitions for each device, watch the video in the annotation below this question. 
The video below offers a refresher of a few literary devices used in literature. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Using the conversation that John is having with his father, choose the word that best describes the relationship between him and his father. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Cite the line from the conversation between John and his mother that gives us the sense that this conversation is one that has been had multiple times before. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
For what reason is John leaving? 
Below is a picture of the current location of the story's plot. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What reason does John's father give for his marriage falling apart? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What does the highlighted text reveal about John and what he believes in? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
At this point in the story, we have encountered a large amount of dialogue between characters. Why doesn't the author correctly punctuate the dialogue? 
Below is a picture of a soogan (bedroll). (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Why are Rawlins and John riding so far on horseback? 
Another word for daybreak is dawn (sunrise). 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
Cite evidence from the text to support your argument for why the author chose to include Blevins' stories about running off. What do these stories reveal about Blevins' character? 
The highlighted words can be more easily described as dried up remains of a person. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What does the highlighted line reveal about Rawlins' feelings about Blevins? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Using the sentence for contextual clues, choose the word that is the best antonym for the highlighted word. 
The highlighted text contains a great example of imagery (the use of words that help to paint a picture in the reader's mind). 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Judging from what is currently taking place in the story, what might the highlighted word mean? 
Below is the definition of the highlighted word. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Judging from the decisions that John Grady has made up to this point, with regards to Rawlins, what kind of person is he? 
Below is the definition for the highlighted word. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
This is the first instance of real excitement and adventure for the boys. Why do you think that the author waited so long to include an exciting, cowboy-like adventure into the plot of this novel? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
What does this figure of speech mean? 
Often times, the author creates a connection between the sun and blood. Watch for other instances of this throughout the rest of the novel. 
Quiz 1 

Chapter 2 - II

A picture of the story's location is provided below. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Re-read the description of the ranch, then answer the question below.What point is the author trying to make in the description of this ranch and its owner? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What does the two boys' banter about the horses reveal about John's knowledge of horses? 
Translated, this word means horse breaker. 
The apparatus around the horse's nose is a bosal, which is used to train a horse. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What technique does John use to break a horse? 
A potrero is a pasture. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Not only is the highlighted portion a run-on, which is done for affect, but it also contains personification. Choose the option that best explains the use of this literary device. 
The picture below shows what it looks like to hobble a horse. This is done to help break a horse. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Using the sentence for contextual clues, choose the best translation for the highlighted word. 
A gerente is a manager/director. 
Below is a picture of bizcochos, which are Mexican holiday cookies. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Cite strong evidence from the reading to explain why someone may get the impression that the highlighted statement is true. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
How has John impressed the ranch owner? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Provide the detail from the this page that gives us the sense that John gets all worked-up when he is around Alejandra. 

Chapter 3 - III

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Using context clues, choose the word that is the best antonym for the highlighted word. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
The highlighted line contains a figure of speech. Choose the option that best defines the meaning of this phrase. 
We can infer, from the fact that the girls brought the cigarettes, that the girls were attracted to John in some way. 
The highlighted word means human waste. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
The highlighted line contains what literary device? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
What can we infer is most likely going to happen to Blevins? Choose specific evidence from the chapter to support your point. 
The author is comparing the horses' movements to the fluidity and connectedness of music. This is an example of a simile. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Why doesn't the men's captor believe that Rawlins is who he says he is? 
Watch the trailer for the movie version of this novel. Are the characters what you pictured? (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
What is the most likely reason for the captain to make the highlighted statement? 
Below is a map of Mexico. The highlighted portion contains Saltillo, the location in which the captain is speaking of. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Choose evidence from the text to support a shift in Rawlins' feelings about Blevins. How have they shifted, and what words prove this shift? 
Below is a picture of a charro (a Mexican cowboy). (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
Why would the author choose to include this description into this portion of the novel? What does it reveal about Blevins' demeanor? 
Click the link to learn more about Boquillas. (This annotation contains a link)
The highlighted portion of text is an example of a simile. The color of the eye is being compared to the color of a plum. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
Other than to add excitement to the novel, why might the author have chosen to include this event into the novel? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Why does Perez find John so interesting? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
The highlighted line contains an example of what literary device? 
In this paragraph, Perez is attempting to further set Americans apart from other nationalities, making them seem foolish. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
Why has the author chosen to include this explanation into this portion of the novel? What does it add to the novel? 
The highlighted word is Spanish for lighter. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Choose the word that best describes the mood/feeling created by the highlighted text. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Make a prediction about what the above event might foreshadow. Be sure to cite evidence from the reading to support your theory/prediction. 
The translation of this word is someone who is quarrelsome (eager to fight). 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Choose events from the novel to prove that these actions were done out of necessity. Prove that these actions are not indicative of John Grady's personality. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
Read the article, from December 2012, about a prisoner in a Mexican prison. Compare his experience to the characters in the novel. 
Read the article below, paying close attention to the treatment of the prisoners in the prison, and answer the question below. (This annotation contains a link)
Not only does this line help us to understand how John Grady is feeling, but it also uses a simile to do so. John Grady's breath is being compared to a razor. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Using context clues, choose the best explanation for the highlighted text. 
In order for one to fully understand this novel, it is imperative that some of the more difficult Spanish words be defined. Below is a link to the definition for the highlighted word. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Throughout the entirety of the novel, John Grady is attempting to seek his ideal future; he wants to be a cowboy. In your opinion, has he reached this status? Use textual evidence to support your point(s). 
This is a very logical statement. It is quite true that John Grady should be dead right now. He has been through a lot, up to this point in the novel. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Explain what this says about Rawlins' character. Knowing this, would John Grady have asked Rawlins to accompany him on the trip from their home in the United States? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.6
Read the highlighted paragraph. Explain what might have been (during that time period) different at an American bus stop. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Choose the line from the highlighted portion that contains an example of personification. 
In the conversation between John and Rawlins, John is trying to convince Rawlins that he is part Mexican because he received about 1.75 pints of Mexican blood. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Using the highlighted text, explain the shift in Rawlins' character. 
Quiz 2 

Chapter 4 - IV

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
In the highlighted passage, we see a different side of Mexico's citizens? Why might the author have chosen to include this into this portion of the novel? 
Below is a map of the location in which John is heading. (This annotation contains an image)
Scroll through the Coca-Cola ads to see what a Coke would have looked like during 1949, the year that this novel is set. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Make an inference, citing strong evidence from the text, as to the reason that John was not invited in. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
What assumption can be made as to the reason that the author continues to clue the reader into the fact that people are not giving John the reception he expected? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
In order to be a disappointment, a person must have expectations thrust upon him. What expectations did Don Hector have for John Grady? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Using the text as a resource, prove that John was not actually a disappointment to Don Hector. 
In the above paragraph, Alfonsa explains the reason for people trying to keep John away from Alejandra. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
For what reason does John assume Alfonsa would have been on his side in the matter of her niece? 
Use the link to learn the definition of the highlighted word. The understanding of this word is important to Alfonsa's explanation to John. (This annotation contains a link)
The definition of the highlighted word says a lot about how Alfonsa sees herself. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
Using Alfonsa's explanation of fate, argue whether she would or would not agree with the quote below, by the well-known American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson.“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” 
Keep in mind that this explanation of Alfonsa is unique to her. Not many women during that time were "freethinkers." 
The highlighted line contains an example of foreshadowing. It clues the reader in to the assumption that their failure is nearly imminent. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Choose the explanation that best compares Alfonsa's story to John's situation. 
Francisco Madero was a real figure in Mexican history. Click the link below to learn more about this man. (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Create an explanation that connects the highlighted sentiment to John's experiences in Mexico. 
Throughout her discussion with John, Alfonsa has proven her wise nature and thoughtfulness, with respect to her view of the world. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
Make an inference about the possible reason for the author's insertion of the highlighted text into this portion of the novel. 
Below is a photo of a guava. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Choose the line from the highlighted text to support the idea that John and Alejandra are star-crossed lovers. 
Click the link to learn more about the phrase 'star-crossed lovers.' (This annotation contains a link)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Describe Alejandra's plan to meet with John. 
Below is a picture of huevos rancheros. (This annotation contains an image)
The map below illustrates john's current location. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Using context clues, choose the word that is the best synonym for the highlighted word. 
In the highlighted portion of the text, the narrator is equating Alejandra's beauty to something never seen before. He is setting her apart from every other woman on the planet. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
Summarize Alejandra's explanation for how John ended up in the Mexican jail. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
At this point in the novel, we can assume that the relationship between Alejandra and John is doomed. Choose the line from this part of the novel to support this point. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
In Act III Scene V of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet speaks the following lines:"Oh God, I have an ill-divining soul! Methinks I see thee, now thou art below, as one dead in the bottom of a tomb."Choose the line(s) from this chapter that mirror what Juliet is saying to Romeo in the above quote. 
Below is a picture of melcochas. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Choose the line(s) from the paragraph to support the fact that there has been a shift toward despair in John's character. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
The highlighted text contains an example of personification. Choose the option that contains the best explanation of what is being personified. 
Notice that the narrator's description of Alejandra's departure is quick and absent of emotion. This may signal to the reader that the remainder of the novel will be devoid of the emotion that we saw when John and Alejandra were together. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1
Choose events from the novel to prove the highlighted words to be true. 
Below is a picture of a person hammering a piece of metal at a forge. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
How has John come in possession of this horse? 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.7
Based on the narrator's explanation of the captain on his horse, explain why the picture in the annotation below is not an accurate representation of the captain and his horse. 
http://wordrat.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/horses-cowboys-9-07-07-2235.jpg (This annotation contains an image)
The man below is wearing a serape, which is a blanket worn as a cloak.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
In the highlighted excerpt, John contemplates the relationship between the world's beauty and the pain that is exacted upon it. Summarize what he is saying about the force that the world has on a person's life. 
In the highlighted text, the narrator is explaining that John had camped out without any form of covering. That's why he woke up "wet and cold and stinking." 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
Using the sentence for context clues, choose the word that offers the best definition for 'apparition.' 
Since we know that John has been sleeping outside, it is important to also understand the weather conditions in that area. In northern Mexico, the average temperature in November is still in the 70's during the day. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2
What is the judge's explanation for why he believes that John Grady is telling him the truth about the horse? 
In this portion of the novel, the reader is able to meet one of the few men, that John has come into contact with, that is actually fair and compassionate. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Explain the comparison that the judge makes between himself and John. 
Here, John explains that he, like the judge, regrets his part in killing a man. 
In 1949, the Soviet Union exploded (tested) its first atomic bomb, which could be what the reverend could be referring to. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.3
Why might these words be significant to John Grady at this time in his life? Cite evidence from the text to support your claim(s). 
Notice that, at this point in the novel, John is riding without purpose, which is quite different from when he started riding into Mexico. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4
The highlighted portion of text contains an example of what literary device? 
At the beginning of the novel, John believed that his country was Mexico. Since he found that not to be the case, we find him even more confused and in despair than before. Not only has he lost his father, but he does not call his childhood home his home anymore. He is, in essence and literally, homeless. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.5
This novel has come full circle. At this point in the novel (the end), we see John at the funeral of Louisa's mother. Likewise, the book opened at the funeral of what figure in his life? 
The fact that the novel ends with a funeral could mark the end of one part of John's life. It is hopeful in the sense that John may be starting over and heading out to find a more promising future for himself. 
Quiz 3 

About the Author

The video clip in the link below is a part of the author's interview with Oprah. (This annotation contains a link)