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John Grady's Quest in All the Pretty Horses

            The avid Simpsons connoisseur would easily recall a particular episode which splendidly illustrates the transcendent - and, in this instance, hilarious - duality of Hazard and Choice. In order to demonstrate that a common hamster possesses a higher intellectual capacity than her brother Bart, Lisa Simpson implants electrodes into a batch of cupcakes; these would emit electric shocks into the unfortunate soul making contact with the morsels. Bart, sighting the delectable foodstuffs on the table, does not hesitate to grab the nearest treat - only to be rendered an immediate shock when his hand embraces what he desires. Chagrined, he makes another attempt, which was met with a painfully identical result. This continues for some time until Bart, exasperated and bored, wanders off; it was a small consolation that the hamster was also unable to obtain a cupcake - thought the hamster desisted, abandoning hope after the first try, quickly forming the mental association between the cupcakes and pain. Bart, like John Grady in All the Pretty Horses, was thrown into an enigmatic situation: the cupcakes were a hazard, an arbitrary circumstance injected into Bart's sphere of existence, which was influential enough to change Bart's life, even if it was as insignificant as a tray of cupcakes diverting Bart's path across the kitchen. Bart made the ultimate decision to forego his own physical well-being to obtain what he so desired - and made the same decision repeatedly over a short timespan, continuing the pursuit of inner (literally) fulfillment he had chosen to embark on. Though in the end he failed and was an object of ridicule, Bart's dejection was not a result of conscious abandonment of his choice, but of his own lack of basic mental aptitude. The cupcakes represented a fleeting axis mundi, the point of ultimate beauty, hazardously presented to Bart as he wandered through his kitchen; had Bart successfully overcome the trials of the electrodes, his destiny would have been dictated by his own choice, rather than the hazard the shock-inducing cupcakes bore.

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