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Transcript of Animals:
Animal meaning and symbolism in the wolrd and in the novel
All The Pretty Horses
How Birds are associated with death in
All The Pretty Horses
, and what birds symbolize and represent.
How Dog barks are used to foreshadow trouble and what a dog symbolizes and means.
Cat symbolism and meaning and how they represent John Grady's talking to high class society.
Cats Symbolism and Meaning
Cats symbolism and meaning can mean several things. A cat represents adventure and courage, as well as independence and curiosity. All attributes that go together. The sterotypical thing to think about with cats and meaning is a black cat symbolizing darkness or misfortune. But cats of a different shade (not black cats) can symbolize light. Which makes the use of a cat in literature all the more fun because its symbolism can be used in many different ways.
Cats in "All The Pretty Horses"
Everytime that cats appear in the novel, it's when John Grady is meeting up and talking with a powerful figure (ie. Don Hector, Alfonsa)
"... and along the windowsill outside taking the sun were four cats" (113).
This scene was when John Grady and Rawlins first got to the ranch, which was the dream of John Grady, the place that he had imagined ending up at, at the end of his journey
The number 4 is symbolic because in the bible, it represents creation and John Grady was creating a new life and a new home for himself on Don Hectors ranch
"When he walked up to the house there were cats coming from the stable and orchard and cats coming along the high wall or waiting their turn to pass under the worn wood of the gate" (223).
This was the scene when John Grady returned back to the ranch after he got out of the jail, he was coming to talk to Alfonsa and to see Alejandra
The cats brought him luck because he was able to reunite with Alejandra, dismissing the deal that Alfonsa had made with him
Birds in "All The Pretty Horses"
"The Billfold jerked sideways off across the landscape and opened out and fell twisting to the ground like a broken bird" (48)
This was the scene when the boys were questioning Blevins and he told them that he could hit anything they tossed in the air, and he wasn't lying, he hit Rawlins wallet midair
The Wallet fell in the same way that a dead bird would fall
Since birds represent death, this could of been foreshadowing the death of one of the boys
"Se llama la periquera,"(181)
"I lost my fingers in a shooting accident," Alfonsa said. "Shooting live pigeons" (135)
It's no coincidence that Alfonsa lost her fingers in a bird shooting accident
This is what causes Alfonsa's marriage to die because she was seen as having a physical deformity and being damaged
In a way, part of Alfonsa died when she got injured, she was damaged both physically and emotionally and she would prefer to be dead than this
"...and the hawks in the silhouette against the sunset waited in the upper limbs of a dead tree for them to pass" (178)
la periquera means bird cage
The boys were put into a place where there would be death happening all around them because it's filled with "birds"
They were not safe there, and they didn't fit in because they were Americans, so they became the targets for everyone
The hawks were sitting on the limbs of a dead tree, right after the scene where Blevins is shot and killed, this symbolizes death
There was also no sun or light, which means that nothing good would be coming
Birds Symbolism and
Birds represent death in the novel
They foreshadow imminent danger
Cats represent the beginning of good fortune happening to John Grady
Dogs Symbolism and
Dogs in "All The Pretty Horses"
In the novel, dogs foreshadow that something bad is about to happen and they also represent that something bad has just happened
McCarthy represents them both physically but also through sounds of them barking, displaying their presence to us
Specific birds have different meanings. For
example vultures often symbolize and
foreshadow death in the real world and in
literature. Crows are generally thought to have
a negative connotation to them as well, due to
their dark colored feathers. However
crows are also connected to magic and mystery.
The hummingbird, usually a light colored bird
that seems peppy because how fast it flaps its
wings can mean independence, creating a better
mood, and more enjoyment and fufillment in life.
(Harris "Crow" par 4 & 6)
(Harris "Hummingbird" par. 1 & 5)
(Harris "Cat" par. 1, 5, & 8)
Dogs are often called mans bestfriend, and are known as companions and protectors. Spiritually a dog symbolizes nobleness, reliability, and unconditional love. Overall dogs are seen as being positive in a humans lfe.
Dogs in Mexican Culture
Dogs in Mexican culture interestingly enough are considered the animal of death. The dog also has close ties to warriors because at the ceremonial burryings after a warrior's death the gown he would wear would have an insignia of a dog on it. This creates an interesting parallel to McCarthy's writing because in both the Mexican culture and his writing the dog is connected to negative things. But in the mass culture the dog is connected to positive aspects.
"Some people believe that ravens guide travelers to their destinations. Others believe that the sight of a solitary raven is considered good luck while more than one raven together predicts trouble ahead".
(Aniskovich par. 23)
The Black Cat
(Woolcott par. 1 & 2)
The black cat is infamously associated with bad luck and all kinds of superstition. However this thought varies across cultures. In the U.S. it is common to believe the superstition that when a black cat runs in front of you, your future isn't bright. But in Japan and the UK, black cats symbolize the exact opposite, they foreshadow luck and a bright future.
"Suddenly three greyhounds trotted into the light one behind the other and circled the fire, pale and skeletal shapes..." (149)
Don Hector sent the dogs out to try to warn the boys and scare them off so that they wouldn't come back to the ranch because there would be trouble for them
The dogs disappeared as quickly as they appeared to show their presence and send out a warning
"The dark tiers of the prison walls ran forever down the deep cyanic sky. A dog had begun to bark," (202)
John Grady had just been in a knife fight with a man who was hired to kill him, and after he managed to kill the man it was silent except for the dog bark
The bark made it known that something bad had just happened
"Some dogs came out to chase the truck and the driver cut the wheel sharply to try to run them down..." (173)
As the three boys were getting hauled off in a truck, leaving the prison in the small town, dogs appeared as they were leaving
The dogs were there as a warning sign of danger ahead, but as you can see, the guards are the ones that are in control and can do whatever they want, including killing the dogs
("Meaning of Numbers..." par. 1)