In All the Pretty Horses, what does John Grady expect to find out when he watches his mother preform on stage?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is clear that there is a disconnect between John Grady Cole and his mother. John Grady is desperately trying to persuade her to let him run the ranch that, with the death of her father, she now solely owns. But it is clear that his mother cares little for the land and just wants to sell it. She spends little time there anyway, living a life that is focused on her stage career. Perhaps in a bid to try and understand his mother, John Grady Cole goes to see her act on stage. Note what the narrator says about how he found the experience:

He'd the notion that there would be something in the story itself to tell him about the way the world was or was becoming but there was not. There was nothing in it at all.

John Grady Cole hoped therefore to understand something of the way in which the world worked, or to see some reflection of truth and reality in the drama his mother is involved in and dedicates her life to. However, his discovery that the drama he watched contained "nothing in it at all" indicates the way that, in John Grady Cole's opinion, drama does not reflect reality and comment on it, but only serves as a meaningless escape from reality. He cannot understand the world his mother has joined and is about to sacrifice her father's land for. His impressions of the drama parallel the disconnect in their relationship.

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