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Thread: Blood Meridian or Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

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    Blood Meridian or Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

    Set in the period after the Mexican - American war, Blood Meridian follows a group of men who are hungry for American Indian scalps and cash. The novel does not take a romanticized 'Once Upon a Time in the West' approach to the wild west. Blood Meridian takes the gruesome nature of the time and does not shy away from any unsettling detail.

    I could go on about how great of a book Blood Meridian is and how intricate of a book it is and how evil the infamous Judge is but any description I am capable of giving would fall short of the book.

    From an academic standpoint I can say that I learned more about writing from Cormac McCarthy and Blood Meridian than I have from any other book to this day.

    As far as my review goes... just read the book. Prove me right or prove me wrong.

    “It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.”

    Good day.
    In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.

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    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed Blood Meridian, and found it even grimmer than The Road. I thought it was an interesting take on the Mexican/ indian wars, and there's a lot I didn't know or appreciate about the scalping bounties that were available and the abuses of this system. No wonder it's not referred to in "cowboy" films. I liked the fact that it had historical figures in there - Joel Glanton was a notorious scalp hunter who eventually fell foul of the authorities. I really like fiction that opens up new historical perspectives, and this one did. it was well written.

    He doesn't go into characterisation much does he? The environment of the desert is beautifully described, but the men become identified by their actions rather than the descriptions of them. None of them has any redeeming features - they are involved in rape, mutilation, fraud, murder and there is a serial killer in the group. It's interesting that McCarthy lets us associate with this group - you develop a familiarity with them despite the terrible things thay do as you are unable to identify with the minor characters/ victims to the same extent. It's almost as if by reading you become part of the group. Would you agree?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    I really enjoyed Blood Meridian, and found it even grimmer than The Road. I thought it was an interesting take on the Mexican/ indian wars, and there's a lot I didn't know or appreciate about the scalping bounties that were available and the abuses of this system. No wonder it's not referred to in "cowboy" films. I liked the fact that it had historical figures in there - Joel Glanton was a notorious scalp hunter who eventually fell foul of the authorities. I really like fiction that opens up new historical perspectives, and this one did. it was well written.

    He doesn't go into characterisation much does he? The environment of the desert is beautifully described, but the men become identified by their actions rather than the descriptions of them. None of them has any redeeming features - they are involved in rape, mutilation, fraud, murder and there is a serial killer in the group. It's interesting that McCarthy lets us associate with this group - you develop a familiarity with them despite the terrible things thay do as you are unable to identify with the minor characters/ victims to the same extent. It's almost as if by reading you become part of the group. Would you agree?


    I agree.
    In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.

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    “You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”
    ― Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

    “You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”
    ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

    “Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”
    ― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

    “Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.”
    ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

    “You think when you wake up in the mornin yesterday don't count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothin else.”
    ― Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

    “People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there.”
    ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

    “Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.
    You forget some things, dont you?
    Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”
    ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

    There is no God and we are his prophets.”
    ― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

    He's long overdue for suicide. ~ C A Cafolini
    Last edited by cafolini; 01-13-2013 at 08:18 PM.

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    Registered User WyattGwyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrGonzo View Post
    I could go on about how great of a book Blood Meridian is and how intricate of a book it is and how evil the infamous Judge is but any description I am capable of giving would fall short of the book.
    I took The Judge to be an allegorical character in whom are fused qualities commonly held to be mutually annihilating: the insatiable quest for knowledge and enlightenment on one hand and the most brutal, atavistic savagery on the other. In the Judge they happily coexist—and therein lies the horror. So I'm pretty sure it misses the point to interpret his evil in personal terms, since this is actually the immortal (like The Judge himself), eternal human condition.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrGonzo View Post
    From an academic standpoint I can say that I learned more about writing from Cormac McCarthy and Blood Meridian than I have from any other book to this day.
    His prose is magnificent. For me, on rereading, however, the rhetoric begins to sound a bit overwrought. (Everything is preternatural, quasi-mythical, and of biblical significance.)

    As for Cafolini's suggestion that McCarthy is long overdue for suicide: Having read all of his novels, I must point out that about half of them have characters capable of great nobility and possessed of firm moral compass (all of The Border Trilogy, The Orchard Keeper, Suttree.)

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    Yes, and Charly is, like his characters, capable of great nobility in Cormac. ROFLMAO.

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    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    The Judge is an ambiguous figure - I agree that he may well represent the search for knowledge in man, but there's no denying his Satanic aspect. Another name for the Devil is The Sower of Discord, and there nothing more discordant than war.

    He's also Satanic on a more prosaic level. He plays with the captured Indian boy and seems to win him over, but the boy is later discovered dead. No-one questions the actions of either him, or any of the other bounty hunters. I thought it was a great book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulclem View Post
    The Judge is an ambiguous figure - I agree that he may well represent the search for knowledge in man, but there's no denying his Satanic aspect. Another name for the Devil is The Sower of Discord, and there nothing more discordant than war.

    He's also Satanic on a more prosaic level. He plays with the captured Indian boy and seems to win him over, but the boy is later discovered dead. No-one questions the actions of either him, or any of the other bounty hunters. I thought it was a great book.
    Firstly, I can give you and Charly Cormac a lot of people who are more discordant than war: Machiavelli, Richelieu, etc. And many actions that are far more discordant than war, one example of which is the Holocaust.
    And I can give you a lot of people that were less discordant than war: Churchill, Lincolm, James and Dolley Madison, F D Roosvelt, Jimmy Carter, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Bill Clinton, Obama, Bidden, Luther King, etc., etc., etc.
    A great book? I agree. A greatly insane book that appeals to a very small percentage of greatly insane people.
    Last edited by cafolini; 01-15-2013 at 06:43 PM.

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    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    People who are more discordant than war? Got to disagree with you there.

    one example of which is the Holocaust

    which arose because of the Nazi success in the war up to 1942.

    You don't like the book then? I thought it was good, particularly at revealing the less well known aspects of history.

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    The structure, prose, and message I thought were flawless. No book affected me more than Blood Meridian. Inspired me to be a writer.
    "Smooth seas rarely make skillful sailors."

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    Quote Originally Posted by WyattGwyon View Post
    I took The Judge to be an allegorical character in whom are fused qualities commonly held to be mutually annihilating: the insatiable quest for knowledge and enlightenment on one hand and the most brutal, atavistic savagery on the other. In the Judge they happily coexist—and therein lies the horror. So I'm pretty sure it misses the point to interpret his evil in personal terms, since this is actually the immortal (like The Judge himself), eternal human condition.



    His prose is magnificent. For me, on rereading, however, the rhetoric begins to sound a bit overwrought. (Everything is preternatural, quasi-mythical, and of biblical significance.)

    As for Cafolini's suggestion that McCarthy is long overdue for suicide: Having read all of his novels, I must point out that about half of them have characters capable of great nobility and possessed of firm moral compass (all of The Border Trilogy, The Orchard Keeper, Suttree.)

    I agree with this interpretation of the Judge. Universally its a human trait that contains that paradox of progress. I think more specifically he's representing America, which mirrors the Judge's brutality in its quest for expansion, without remorse. The scariest thing is the Judge is aware of this.
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    The Judge was modeled on a real character from that period in history, and the events of the book from real events. But McCarthy raises the Judge to the realm of allegory, myth and symbol, of something timeless in man and which cannot be extinguished. We learn in the book's climax, before he rapes and kills the Kid in the jakes, that he is immortal. This is certainly one of the greatest novels ever written.

  13. #13
    I don't currently have a copy of Blood Meridian. I don't believe in synchronicity, which is just a misunderstanding of coincidence and probabilities, though I do believe in serendipity. Anyway, I submitted my last post a few moments ago from a pub in New York City's Soho district, then wandered outdoors because the weather has mysteriously turned beautiful ("It done has cleared," one of the characters in BM remarks; the weather and landscape playing a key role in the book, almost like characters themselves.) While outside I happened to look down at the pub's window. It shows a little nook behind a bench against the window which is reserved as a lost-and-found corner. It had four items: An umbrella, a hat, a scarf, and Blood Meridian.


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    TobeFrank Paulclem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cioran View Post
    I don't currently have a copy of Blood Meridian. I don't believe in synchronicity, which is just a misunderstanding of coincidence and probabilities, though I do believe in serendipity. Anyway, I submitted my last post a few moments ago from a pub in New York City's Soho district, then wandered outdoors because the weather has mysteriously turned beautiful ("It done has cleared," one of the characters in BM remarks; the weather and landscape playing a key role in the book, almost like characters themselves.) While outside I happened to look down at the pub's window. It shows a little nook behind a bench against the window which is reserved as a lost-and-found corner. It had four items: An umbrella, a hat, a scarf, and Blood Meridian.

    Watch out for that Judge!

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    You don't like the book then? I thought it was good, particularly at revealing the less well known aspects of history.

    Well of course cafolini doesn't like it. It doesn't reinforce his naive notions of American infallibility.
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