First off, before the chapter even starts, the preview of events. The third term, Los heréticos, puzzled me, because in my reading I never even came across this "Los heréticos." So I searched near and far on them internets, and I found only a collection of short stories. It translates to "The Heretics," (yeah, who would have guessed that) and the most appropriate definition here is: anyone who does not conform to an established attitude, doctrine, or principle. Still, not really getting it... I just don't see it in the text.
The manual labor of prisoners is usually all but arbitrary, but these guys take it to the next level. Cleaning... excuse me, gathering up the filth in the gutters. From what we've heard this town is a cesspool of civilization, so why would gathering filth even be an option? I wouldn't think the guards or prison owner fellow would even think of that. Maybe it's all they could think of after the great toilet incident a few years back. Maybe they're down there, because it's a perpetual job; trash is constantly reappearing as soon as it's picked up, that way they never have to move on.
So the Veteran was in a battle at Mier. There's this big thing called the Mier Expeditions that has to do (kind of) with the times and place of the book. so here: http://www.shsu.edu/~his_rtc/MierText.htm
It was during the Mexican-American war and this may not be all that important, but it's got some neato/nifty pictures.
There was only a small dosage (teaspoonful at best) of gore in the chapter. It may not of gotten to anyone, but it got me. The three fellas are talking about the Commanche horde. Every new act of savagery tops the last. "[They] cut the bottoms of his feet off." It's something that I would never have thought of, but once you hear it, owwwww, man. I just can't wait to hear him top himself again.
The Lipan burial. Lipans are some form of Apache Indian, I guess it's kind of like the denominations of Christianity. Anyhow, why is it that Mexicans took the bodies to their houses? I would just guess it's for revenge and humiliation. The Mexicans thought that a burlesque of the Indian's bodies would serve to shame them in the afterlife. I don't know. Maybe that's the logic.
Okay, who am I to criticize a writer? Writing books is tough business and so far, McCarthy has done a wondrous job of avoiding cliché. But the "blackeyed girls, darkskinned girls waving their flowers." Oh it's just so trite. It's that same image all the time, every time. Jeebas. Everybody knows it. It's like, whenever a group of seven or more men leave a town, every girl is obliged to put on her Sunday dress and grab a bouquet to throw in the streets. Just... no.
But oh how great the writing is otherwise. "I'll guarangoddamntee ye." Perfect vernacular and kind of hilarious. I know I'm using it from now on. And I've noticed (and I'm sure everyone else has) that there is a load of terms in this book peculiar to the time and place. It serves to be a bit confusing and kind of a hassle, but it sets the mood of the book all the more. For one more comment on the writing, I think we talked about his joining of words the other day. I've been noticing those terms more and I think he does this in lieu of a hyphen.
Oh yeah. Judge is top dog wherever he goes, ahem, just saying. I'm looking forward to the scalping.