How did John Grady know that his father had died?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Glass 3 years, 12 months ago.

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  • 05 May 2013 at 2:35 pm #3370

    Richard L.
    Member

    Rereading ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, I am struck once again by the degree with which McCarthy foreshadows in the intertextuality of his works.

    I’m now going to go back and reread the crit-lit on ATPH. On page 282, when John Grady awakes in the mountains, he realizes that his father is dead. No one told him, so this was esp or dreamspeak. I’m certain that many of the scholars here have previously commented on this, but my old memory has no recollection of it being mentioned.

    Does anyone know offhand?


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    12 May 2013 at 10:35 pm #3392

    Glass
    Member

    Richard, been thinking about your question quite a bit. It is intriguing. I like how Jeff Kripal, professor of comparative religion at Rice, writes and thinks about this sort of phenomenon. He has an excellent lecture on You Tube from a TED Talk he gave a few years ago in which, among many other cool things, he tells the story of Mark Twain dreaming the death of his brother Henry. I’ve also been thinking of your question in relation to my recent posts on dreams of peril, and I’ve tried to extend that to include a connection to Pynchon’s V symbolism, the muted horn and the idea of communication, or lack thereof. Thinking of sirens, siren songs, fire horns, Bell’s dead father’s fire horn, communication between worlds, the tension in CM between naturalism and supernaturalism, that sort of thing. Pynchon mutes the horn, while McCarthy puts the fire in it and keeps communication channels open. Just some initial thoughts on the Pynchon angle. Your mention of intertextuality had me thinking about blankets and the dead fathers in McCarthy. Here is a link to Kripal’s lecture (the Mark Twain story begins at about the 9-minute mark):
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rX7WDqZuyvQ


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    03 Nov 2013 at 8:36 am #4516

    Richard L.
    Member

    A belated thanks for that.

    What I was considering now, and I am just putting the idea out there, is it possible that McCarthy was writing this when the death of his own father occurred?


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    03 Nov 2013 at 9:25 am #4517

    Glass
    Member

    You’re welcome, Richard. When I saw that this post had been resurrected, I thought someone might mention that in the movie Ruth awakens in prison with a start and in seeming terror when her son the Green Hornet has his head lopped off by the wire. She seemed to know just like JGC seemed to know. Need to check to see if there is a similar moment in the screenplay. Anyway, that’s an interesting idea you’ve come up with about a possible parallel or a synchronistic relationship between the deaths of the fathers. I don’t have anything to offer on that but it does seem plausible.


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    03 Nov 2013 at 11:09 am #4519

    wesmorgan
    Participant

    Richard, Cormac’s father died on 15 February 1995. All The Pretty Horses was published in 1992.


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    03 Nov 2013 at 11:56 am #4520

    Richard L.
    Member

    Thanks, Wes. I didn’t really believe that it could be that easy. In the old forum, I could just do a search and find such things.


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    03 Nov 2013 at 12:38 pm #4521

    jVh
    Member

    The young Nietzsche reputedly had a creepy precognitive dream. If I remember somewhat accurately, it happened shortly after his father’s funeral. He dreamed he was back in the church where the funeral had taken place. He was seated in a pew, by himself. Somewhere an organ was playing the same piece that had played at the funeral. The church was otherwise empty, except that his infant brother lay on an altar. A hole opened in the floor near the altar, and Nietzsche saw his dead father emerge from the hole. He was dressed in his funeral clothes. He picked up the infant and then stepped down into the hole again. A day after Nietzsche had the dream, his infant brother died (without warning) of some sudden illness.


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    • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by  jVh.
    07 Nov 2013 at 11:01 am #4550

    leedriver
    Member

    My girlfriend of long ago woke up one morning screaming and horrified from a nightmare. She was truly distraught, it took a long time for her to calm down. She spoke of many people all writhing in agony and dying together. Later that day the news of Jim Jones and Guyana broke.


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    07 Nov 2013 at 7:54 pm #4554

    Glass
    Member

    The truth is terrible. Loved hearing those dream stories.


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    26 Jan 2014 at 6:30 am #4993

    Glass
    Member

    I wonder if the so-called Puzzle of Imaginative Resistance (PIR hereafter) might be in play here. The basic idea behind the PIR is that there is a reluctance to imagine fictional worlds that differ morally from the actual world. As Tamar Gendler puts it — even if I can suppose certain things, I find myself not wanting to and resist doing so. A frequent example in the literature on PIR asks us to imagine a world in which it is morally premissible to kill children. The imaginative puzzle is that most readers refuse to or are unable to engage in certain imaginings but can easily imagine all kinds of other strange fictional scenarios such as time travel or that the moon is made of cheese. Gendler gives one interesting example in a paper in which she asks us to imagine pictures of maggots and dung beetles painted on the wall of a nursery school as opposed to the usual bumblebees or rabbits. Another example of this, or something that at least hints at this puzzle, might be the scene in The Road when the baby is cooked and partially eaten, presumably because its mother and fellow travelers were hungry, eschewing normal morality where such horrors are taboo. Most readers probably would find it hard to imagine a world in which such behavior could be justified, or at a minimum the reader would likely resist trying to imagine such a world. How the PIR might apply to John Grady’s seeming clairvoyance is this: Does the reader believe that JGC’s power of clairvoyance or precognition is reliable and the claims reached through this power justified? The philosopher Alvin Goldman has written that we have stored lists of intellectual virtues and vices to which we refer when we make assessments of epistemic justification. So it follows that JGC’s clairvoyant-inspired belief is unjustified because clairvoyance does not appear on our list of intellectual virtues. So do we the reader find ourselves in the grip of imaginative resistance in this case? Or, perhaps, has McCarthy primed the reader in the sense of endowing JGC with mystical qualities, having the effect of lowering our resistance to the idea that he could actually have known his father was dead by virtue of a dream? Why believe John Grady Cole?


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