This chapter was full of metaphors and similes, as well as some descriptive language. Also, there were lots of words that were difficult. The Judge shows some more of his crazy logic and we witness more of the American's style.
First of all, has anyone noticed McCarthy's knowledge of plants? It always seems like he knows exactly what plants go with whatever ecosystem they are traveling through. Maybe McCarthy's dream job is to be a botanist...On page 187, he writes, "...wildflowers, acres of golden groundsel and zinnia and deep purple gentian and wild vines of blue morninglory and a vast plain of varied small blooms reaching onward like a gingham print..."
Pictures of these plants can be seen here-
Gingham is yarn-dyed, plain-weave Cannon fabric, usually striped or checked (dictionary.com)
I think that McCarthy is trying to these these plants and flowers as a sort of quilt or blanket...Also, later on, McCarthy describes hardwood forests then rain forests. He does this to show how far the American's have moved throughout Mexico and how uncharted and unfamiliar the terrain is. He makes the environment change to keep the story interesting.
It's funny how each character has different views about animals. Most change from helping animals to slaughtering them, which seems like a contradiction. The Judge is usually very nice to his animals, however, he never thinks twice about murdering (yes murdering!) two innocent puppies. Then, after he throws them into the stream, another man shoots them! Pretty crude guys...Also, Glanton is very wishy-washy when it comes to animals. He saves dogs and talks nicely to his horse, however doesn't think twice about throwing a mass amount of mules into a cavern. Glanton could look at mules more as tools instead of animals, but still, they could have used the mules for food. Also, the mercury could have been valuable to merchants or even the Judge for his "research."
Toadvine isn't stupid. He is the only person (save the kid) to well judge the Judge. However, he does this dangerously by judging him face to face. He challenges the Judge's fancy talk and his motives which may prove fatal to Toadvine later in the book. The Judge is very selfish. He wants to obtain every single speck of knowledge available in the entire world, then destroy the things he previously didn't know. Seems like that would take some time, however if he really is Satan, he would have a millenia to pull it off (Alex mentioned this earlier so I won't go into detail). A good example of this is on page 199 on which the Judge says, "The freedom of birds is an insult to me. I'd have them all in zoos." Again, very selfish, however this helps show the Judge's character as the strong, mysterious silent type. Also, the Judge seems like a fruit-cake at times. On page 198, McCarthy writes, "...he stalked tiptoe the mountain butterflies with his shirt outheld in both hands, speaking to them in a low whisper." If you ask me, a huge, white, hairless, and shirtless man chasing butterflies through the forest is really strange.
A good use of personification is on page 187-8, on which McCarthy writes, ''...the blackened bones of trees assassinated in the mountain storms." This is really descriptive and helps us as readers visualize the environments the Americans are traveling though.
A strange simile is on page 191, on which McCarthy writes, "...(Glanton) lay bound to his bed like a madman..." Like he wasn't alredy a madman? But one question I have is why is he bound to the bed? Is he so drunk and violent that he would kill masses of people in a single angry instant? I understand that the Judge is trying to calm him down but is Glanton really that dangerous?