The Heroes’ Quest Two of the most widely admired characters of literature were John Grady Cole from the story All Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy and Sir Gawain from the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by J. R. R. Tolkien. Though they are fictional, message conveyed in their stories could resemble that of a common teenager who wanted himself to be treated as a mature one as if he knew everything. Their stories were slightly similar.
Both are young, adventurous and naïve, these two has sent themselves off to a journey that they have never expected to be. John Grady Cole’s world at a very young age of 16 years old turned upside down when all the comfort of earthly things he used to be with all his life gone suddenly. As a result, he ended up travelling alone in search of something that he doesn’t recognize at first. Along with his journey, he met people who gave significance in his character modification from a lonely teenage boy to a strong man. We could view that his manhood has gained through his inevitable experiences which some of it turned to be tragic and violent. His growth has endangered to be faltered too as he closely fell in love with Alejandra. Gladly, he finally realized how difficult it would be should he let himself follow his love for her as he learned that Alejandra’s grandmother didn’t like him at all.
The magnificent journey of John Grady Cole taught him enough to stick on his heroic nature. Though some foul incidents occurred such as being imprisoned innocently and killing someone as self-defence, he never demoralized himself and continued to behave well. His behaviour and determination uplifted his self-respect and helped his image to be depicted as a Western hero. On the other hand, Sir Gawain, being the youngest among the knights of King Arthur, tends to be immature and weakling. His journey in search of the Green Chapel to complete the mission, as he tied to a promise with the Green Knight when the latter let him axed his head off in exchange of doing the same thing to Sir Gawain after a year and a day, turned to be shameful for Sir Gawain at first because he found out that it was a dark tactic from King Arthur’s mortal enemy Morgan Le Fay.
However others see it as efficiently heroic and made Sir Gawain proud of himself later on. Sir Gawain was an excellent picture of heroism as this young man held characteristics of a true hero. His valour comprised of honesty, loyalty, self-discipline and bravery, did not shaken by the flaw that he has gone through his adventure. Though the way he finished his promise and his traits as a whole do not somehow correspond with each other, it made Sir Gawain developed a much more admirable personality. Like any other hero in real life, John Grady Cole and Sir Gawain did not seek for praise and appreciation from the public. All they want was to become a man by all means.
However awful, they just did what they knew was accurately right, in accordance to the situation that they are dealing with. True heroism entailed bravery to face any challenges and difficulties along the way, and that was their quest of becoming a true man was all about. R E F E R E N C E SMcCarthy, Cormac. All the Pretty Horses.
Kansas: Topeka Bindery, 1993. Tolkien, J. R. R. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Wisconsin: Demco Media, 1988.