All The Pretty Horses is about three teenage American boys who run away to Mexico. Although this seems odd, considering the fact that many Mexicans go the other way and that their is some racial tension between white Americans and Mexicans, but they boys decide Mexico is the place for them. They do not have racist tendencies towards the Mexicans they encounter and one even falls in love with the daughter of a wealthy ranch owner. Hate is not a driving force in this novel.
One of the main characters, John Grady, falls in love with a Mexican girl named Alejandra. John Grady works with the horses on her father’s ranch. He is respected by the man, until he discovers of their affair. Upon learning of their affair, he has John Grady arrested and sent to prison, which he is eventually freed from. When John Grady returns to the ranch he finds that Alejandra’s father will not speak to him, and that Alejandra herself is not staying at the ranch. He speaks with his lover’s aunt, who tells him he can never speak to Alejandra again, and tells her that he does not hate her or her brother for what they did to him. John Grady does not feel hate in this novel.
Another character who readers may think John Grady would hate is the police captain that murders Blevins. Blevins is one of John Grady’s companions who is younger than him. Blevins had lost his horse in a storm, but found it in a Mexican village. He was forced to steal the horse back and is separated from John Grady and Rawlins, their other companion. Stupidly he returns to the village and kills a few people before he is arrested and later executed after being reunited with John Grady and Rawlins. After John Grady’s visit to the ranch, he decides to get his horse back as well as the horses of Rawlins and Blevins. As he does so he takes the captain hostage, but refuses to kill him, as he does not hate him. He just uses him to escape into the Mexican countryside. Once again John Grady proves his lack of hate.
The one place where hate does appear in the novel is in the prison that John Grady and Rawlins are sent to. John Grady and Rawlins do not hate anyone themselves, but they are hated by most of the inmates, because of their nationality. The inmates attack them daily and one is able to wound Rawlins enough to get him sent to the hospital. John Grady is forced to buy a knife and then defend himself from an assassin, who he kills. The hate that both men experience drives John Grady to do something he never believed he could do: kill a man.
Hate does not manifest itself in any of the main characters of this novel. Most of the lesser characters in the novel show friendliness, or at least hospitality. The lack of hate makes the prison environment even harsher and makes John Grady’s crime seem more justified. Hate is not a major theme in this novel, as it only manifests itself in one location.