Sunday, April 25, 2010

Blood Meridian Chapter 13

This chapter showed a change in tempo in the story. The posse is now called the "Americans" and they kill Mexican citizens instead of Apaches. Sure they always killed the citizens, it's just that there is more emphasis on the civilians in this chapter. I guess you could say that McCarthy describes the citizens more in this chapter instead of in the others.

The beginning of this chapter was very ironic. The Americans get a huge parade/festival/dinner/ball for killing the exact opposite thing the governor wants them too. In reality, they are no better than the Apaches. Throughout the entire book, they have been running from the Apaches instead of fighting them, something that will surely come back to haunt them. McCarthy has the Americans kill the citizens to show how clever Glanton and the Judge are by having them find alternate ways to get scalps. On page 168, McCarthy says, "...the scalps were being strung about the iron fretwork of the gazebo like decorations for some barbaric celebration. Besides being a very descriptive simile, this sentence also adds to the irony. McCarthy probably added this ironic segment to show how scarce information was back in the 1800's and how out of sync the citizens were with the governing cities. Also, it's pretty ironic that the Judge is wearing kid boots, but only if the kid part is a reference to a child, not a goat (page 169).

The dinner scene is great. Were the Mexicans really not expecting a group of loud, rowdy, nasty, and dangerous mercenaries to get out of hand, especially when alcohol is involved? Also, it was pretty funny how they ate every bit of food in the entire city.

It's cool how McCarthy writes about Glanton's wife and child. He shows a softer and weaker side of Glanton while he is in the desert. McCarthy does this to show how the toughest and most ruthless (roofless for Alex) character has a nice and simple side. I'm not sure but maybe this is how McCarthy feels. Maybe he feels bad and lonely whenever he doesn't see his family (wife and child). For more info about McCarthy click here

The massacre of the Tiguas is much shorter and less descriptive. McCarthy makes this massacre shorter to show how killing a mass amount of people for their scalps is getting pretty normal and regular. He is trying to show how the act of hunting people is getting to be more like a business. In this chapter, there is two massacres. The one in the Mexican town during the funeral is a little more interesting because they fight back with knives and guns. However the outcome is still the same; the Americans get all the scalps they can hold and wipe out an entire colony of people in less than 2 hours. For information on scalping click here

Just because the Judge is awesome I will include this long quote...
"But the Judge was like a cat and he sidestepped the man and seized his arm and broke it and picked the man up by his head. He put him against the wall and smiled at him but the man had begun to bleed from the ears and the blood was running down between the judge's fingers and over his hands and when the judge turned him loose there was something wrong with his head and he slid to the floor and did not get up." Up until this point, we had never seen the Judge's strength in use. People had spoken about it in the book before, however this is the first time we see it for real. This really adds to the Judge's character as the strong, silent intellectual.

One simile that really didn't work was on page 184. McCarthy writes, "They were shambling along the road like dumb things." Wow McCarthy, really descriptive. This is the one and only time McCarthy failed to impress with his writing skills. He could have at least said like dumb animals but nope, he chose to go with "things."

For some research...

Ures is a city in Mexico that has financial relationships with Sonora.

8000 pesos is the equivalent of $657.18. Remember this is the price on Glanton's head.


  1. Wow 10:30 pm and I'm the first blog?

  2. I'm reading Blood Meridian and am enjoying your web site. However, the price on Glanton's head was high. First, in 1850 the dollar and the peso were nearly equal in value, so he'd be wanted for $8,000. Second, given inflation, $1 in 1850 would be worth just under $30 today. So, in current money, Glanton had a price on his head of $240,000.