John Grady Cole
John Grady Cole, the novel’s protagonist, who grows up on an East Texas ranch. When his grandfather dies, he decides to seek a life of adventure in Mexico, taming horses and living free. Cole has a strong sense of the dignity of life and of his own integrity. These qualities are strongly challenged when he falls in love with a young Mexican woman; her family forbids him to court her. When he does so anyway, he is hunted down as a criminal, becoming involved in a case of alleged horse theft. Sorely challenged by men who share neither his reverence for life nor his hardy self-reliance, Cole manages to maintain his humanity and to survive largely on his own terms.
Rawlins, Cole’s cousin and close friend. They team up to explore Mexico. Rawlins is something of a cowboy-philosopher, constantly asking Cole his views on the nature of life. Whereas Rawlins is loquacious, Cole is taciturn, exhibiting his ideas in action rather than in dialogue. Rawlins, like Cole, is a young man testing his convictions in an alien environment. Although he does not always agree with Cole, he sticks by his friend, valuing loyalty more than any other virtue.
Blevins, a young boy whom Cole and Rawlins meet on the road to Mexico. Rawlins is suspicious of Blevins, who keeps following him and Cole. Cole seems indifferent to Blevins but defends him when Rawlins attacks the boy for...
(The entire section is 504 words.)