Blood meridian judge essay

The rain will erode the deeds of his life. But that man who sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by the decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only by such taking charge that he will effect a way to dictate the terms of his own fate.

Historical Context

Essentially, the judge argues that knowledge and willful action are only possible once all the facts of a life are known, but the problem is that the only way to make these facts known is to live a life. But again, the paradox: this is only possible once the tapestry is woven, once a life has been lived and all choices are already made. McCarthy is an author obsessed with moments of choice for his characters, and in the above quote the judge lays out the quandary that drives him to obsess over these questions of choice, as well as those of divination and moral culpability.

Is there a point in which a person can preview the tapestry whole-formed, and thus be in a position to truly choose his course in the world? Or must we always be in the dark as to what form our life will take when all is said and done, and therefore not truly be in a position to make choices that will define our future? He does indeed make many statements that hint at a morality e.

At one point, he quite forcefully declares that human agency is meaningless in the face of something like a cosmic destiny:. A man seeks his destiny and no other, said the judge. Will or nill. Do it. He is naked. He is unarmed. Do it or I swear your life is forfeit. This man ends up being correct.

The kid does not shoot—whether he ever truly had a chance to kill the judge, and whether his agency, real or imagined, made any difference in the outcome, are all questions Blood Meridian remains silent on. He is always lecturing, sketching models in his book, and imposing his philosophies onto the group. In fact, his knowledge in all things scientific saves the Glanton Gang several times over; however, there is one event that stands out as particularly unlikely and particularly demonic. The Judge has mixed together a variety of miscellaneous materials and out of the essential nothingness around them finds a way to create gunpowder.

The final touches to his concoction are shown somewhat horrifically as such:. It is ritualistic and occult-like, but ultimately it is science and it is what saves them.


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Assuming the Judge as a symbol of newfound knowledge and reason, the reader sees a helpful figure but he also sees that same figure carry a capacity for so much potential to be evil. On this comparison, the kid then would be that ever-present yearning for the spiritual or religious.

Blood Meridian's man of many masks: judge Holden as Tarot's Fool

If anyone is to not believe in the mercy of a God, it is the kid: abused in some form as a child and then going on to endure a life of what is likely the closest thing to a Hell, the kid still at the end of the novel longs for God in some form or another, as he is carrying a bible he cannot even read. It is the instinctual extension of ourselves to the submission of some greater power. And the kid, being one of the very, very few figures in the story with a desire for religion, is also portrayed as one of the most moral and likely one the reader feels the most affinity towards.

There is also the expriest Tobin who throughout the novel seems to hold on to some form of faith and belief in God. Looking at the novel with existentialism in mind, McCarthy seems to be saying that a Godless place which the setting of Blood Meridian very much is has the potential to become so evil. It is a sort of protest towards the complete abandonment of God. There may be a message to be discerned from the final encounter between the Judge and what is now the man.

The reader sees, after their conversation on war which deserves a book of analysis in itself, the man go to the bathroom. He was naked and he rose up smiling and gathered him in his arms against his immense and terrible flesh and shot the wooden barlatch home behind him. What the reader sees here is the ultimate downfall of the man, and thus, in looking at the story as an existential one, the ultimate downfall of an affinity for religion.

The Judge, always naked, has a desire to overpower what he thinks is defying him. In that sense, reason and knowledge seeks to overpower, directly or indirectly, the belief in religion.

Blood Meridian: Excessive Violence and Its Implications on the Human Condition | The Artifice

The two inherently cannot exist harmoniously. It does so with malice too, as later we see one man advising another to not even look at what became of the man. It is reason completely dominating the idea of religion with the former being the only one left standing. The lens of existential philosophy works wonderfully to lend new focus to Blood Meridian. McCarthy was raised a Catholic, but knowing he is just as much a physicist as he is a novelist, his personal religious views may be considered mysterious at best.

Barrett, William. Irrational man: a Study in Existential Philosophy. New York: Anchor , Literature Resource Center, login. Accessed 17 Apr. Phillips, Dana. Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student. Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website.


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In several other occasions, while as a member of the Glanton gang, he escapes death in incidences, which leave most of his friends dead. He escapes death while the judge in the desert, who preys, pursues him for his life. Despite having chances of killing the judge, he chooses not to. Eventually most of the gang members die except for the kid, the judge and the ex priest Tobin who disappears at the end of the story.

This is a clear indication that the kid is brave since despite being the youngest in the gang he escapes death most times compared to others who have ample experiences in war. The novel features the Kid as a conspirator of his personal desires. Given the right circumstances, the kid proves to be as evil as the judge in the novel is. This is in consideration to some of the mysterious deaths and abductions that take place in the story.

Cormac Mccarthy's Blood Meridian Research Paper

This means that given the cover of anonymity and added with the power of alcohol, the kid is capable of doing equal evil as the Judge. Revelations stands out for instance most of the deaths such as that of the twelve-year-old half-breed boy and the case of the missing girl after the feast of Animas as well as the missing Mexican girl.

With much violence happening at the same time, it seems difficult to relate the kid to these atrocities which reveal themselves later as the shadow of the genocide becomes thin with passing time. It is only then that the kid really reveals himself as a murderer, a vice initially tied only to the judge.

Yet in the story, the kid has the ability of forging innocence in the minds of the readers and escaping any judgment or accusations of any of the evil deeds as those committed in collaboration with the judge. This contributes further to his indecisiveness. The fact that the kid has several chances to kill the judge and instead chooses against it shows that despite his later revelation as being a murderer, the kid is capable of showing clemency. He gets an upper hand over his enemy as he comes into a position to get rid of his enemy but still chooses not to do it.

The judge tells the kid to reveal himself and hand over his weapon a thing that the kid defies doing and instead keeps on hiding. In that single scene, the Kid dishonors the Judge through quite a number of ways.