Monday, April 12, 2010

Blood Meridian Chapter 5

This chapter was just as dark and depressing as the one before it. McCarthy uses these graphic and disgusting scenes to prove that not all westerns have to do with guys in white hats and shootouts in bars. Hopefully most of the scenes depicted by McCarthy are fictional. If McCarthy uses alot of true and factual information, how did he get records of killed babies, Indian hordes that leave paths of destruction, and the part about the city? However, no matter the scene, McCarthy finds some way to make incredibly intense details that make his book even more intresting. Also, he uses symbolism in several of his descriptive sentences.

The most depressing parts of this chapter were descriptions of the small Mexican town, the tree draped with babies, and the glass jar with the Captain's head in it. The Mexican town was pretty scary. The visuals of swollen, grotesque, and mamed bodies littering the streets and the church imply that no one is safe from the Indian horde. The fact that they would tear apart the church to get the survivors inside shows the determination of the horde to kill everyone they find. At this point, I'm not sure what the motivation behind this is but this will hopefully be addressed later in the book. The babies hung from the tree are difinately a symbol of lifestyle in the west. No matter whether you are young or old, good or evil, you will somehow be affected by the lawlessness and the destruction. This is another reference to the "regeneration through violence" thing. For a civilization to thrive, the savages must first be killed in order to create a peaceful foundation (hence the Blood Meridian also). The Captain's head in the jar is a symbol of how even the mightiest and strongest of the bunch may fall in the end. This may be McCarthy's view of a large and powerful government, a political power, or a leader of sorts.

No matter the situation, McCarthy makes the most of a chance to be descriptive. McCarthy writes, "In the afternoon they came upon a carreta in the trace, tilted on its tongue, the great wheels cut from rounds of a cottonwood trunk and pinned to the axletrees with tenons." This is the long and intricate way to say he found a wagon on the road. He also has a specific way of teaching life lessons. While describing the Mexican group of cowboys, McCarthy writes, "When the lambs is lost in the mountain, he said. They is cry. Sometime come the mother. Sometime the wolf." It takes a special kind of author to make such a powerful statement using the worst grammar.

Finally, how the heck did Toadvine end up in Mexico? Was he following the army or was it just by chance? Another question, what kind of name is Sproule (maybe a last name)?

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