Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blood Meridian Chapter 11

Judge Holden continues to show his intellect in chapter 11. The huge passage spans five pages and it's in these five pages that we see the raw form of the Judge's intelligence and his power in the form of persuasion.

The story about the traveler, the woman, the child, and the old man seems to be very popular between the group of men. A few minor details change, however the base story remains the same. The part that befuddles everyone is on page 145 on which the Judge says, "The world which he inherits bears him false witness. He is broken before a frozen god and he will never find his way." This shows the Judge's feelings toward people that are not challenged or don't challenge their surroundings. He thinks that if a child inherits his father's goods instead of earning them through hard work and labor that that child will be doomed in the long run. He won't be able to protect himself from the trials and tribulations of life and therefore he will fail. This is possibly McCarthy's view of people who are sheltered and fed with a silver spoon. McCarthy would have no sympathy for someone who is unable to take care of themselves.

I have noticed that most of the people in the group understand what the Judge is saying when he speaks in his trance-like intellectual state. The Tennessean, a man of basic knowledge, seems to know exactly what the Judge means when he says, "Whether in my book or not, every man is tabernacled in every other and he in exchange and so on in an endless complexity of being and witness to the uttermost edge of the world." When I read this, I felt really stupid, especially when the Tennessean gave an equally intelligent and confusing reply. It's almost like people get smarter just by being in the presence of the Judge. He gives the other members of the posse a feeling of comfortability and therefore, he can draw out the best in a person.

The fact that the Judge destroys his findings after recording them in his book is fairly strange. When the Tennessean asked him why he took notes, the Judge replied, " expunge them from the memory of man." This implies that the Judge wishes to keep his records of things deemed insignificant for himself only. This seems like a very selfish thing for the Judge to do especially since the Judge believes that the Earth is the most precious thing and that everything can be learned from it. I thought that someone like the Judge would want to share his findings instead of keeping them for himself.

The Judge must have had a rough childhood. On page 146, he says, "At a young age, (children) should be put in a pit with wild dogs. They should be set to puzzle out from their proper clues the one of three doors that does not harbor wild lions. They should be made to run naked in the desert until..." After this the expreist stops him. This may show something dark and twisted about the Judge that we are yet to learn. Another reference to the word meridian is on the same page. The Judge says, "His spirit is exhausted at the peak of its achievement. His meridian is at once his darkening and the evening of his day. He loves games? Let him play for stakes." Not really sure but this might mean that children are their happiest before they are sent toward adulthood. This may mean that games are taken in a different light once a child is older.

For some research

arcane, used on page 139 to describe eggs, means mysterious and exotic (

Gnadenhutten (page 138) refers to the Gnadenhutten Massacre in which 96 Christian Lenape (Indians possibly Delawares) were slaughtered by the colonial American militia. (

The Anasazi were an ancient tribe of Indians that suddenly disappeared without a trace. Many people claim to be descendants. (

A awesome simile is on page 148. It reads, "night stand on leather wings like dark satanic hummingbirds." McCarthy uses this to show how things at night (especially bats) are very scary even though they may not be scary during the day. A good form of personification was on page 138 on which McCarthy writes, "...a country where the rocks would cook the flesh from your hand..." This doesn't seem like a good place to be at the time and it adds to the level of danger associated with the west. Just think, a place where if you sat on a rock, your butt would be cooked. I wonder if you could fry an egg on it?

I have one question, why is the group going through such dangerous territory in their search for Indians? They wonder why all of the villages they find are's because they were either carried off by the local bear population or cooked alive by the elements. It just seems like their looking in the most hostile places for Natives so I guess my question is why are they looking in wastelands for Indians that would probably be camped out on the prairie instead of sheer rock cliffs?

No comments:

Post a Comment