Blood Meridian

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In Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy describes a lawless and godless group of men ordained to cleanse the West of lesser people. This group wanders through the West leaving a trail of slaughtered people in their trail. The emptiness and ruthlessness of their hearts is reflected in the harsh and unforgiving landscape. McCarthy uses reoccurring themes of war, religion, and dance to paint a graphic picture of the savageness of life in the West. As men ordained on a mission, Glanton's Gang is paid to seek out the scalps of Apaches and return them to the Mexican town of Chihuahua City. The gang quickly moves beyond the killing of Indians to include Mexicans, Americans, and whoever else crosses their path. The men are killing on their own accord. The excessive killing at first seems to be driven by greed. The senselessness of the deaths leads to the conclusion these men kill for power. Blood-thirsty and without the bounds of written law, Glanton's Gang become warriors, just like the Apaches they set out to kill. As Judge Holden explains to the gang around the campfire, war has always existed and will always exist. Every thing that exists is contained in war. By the Judge's theory, the actions of the gang are inherent. War is a natural occurrence and the men are merely acting naturally. War is a game. Throughout the story, death is treated as a game. While members of the gang die, the group continues, barely taking notice another man has been lost. Yet, the only real control the characters have over their lives is death. On the harsh plains, the only thing certain is death. Other occurrences are merely incidental or random. In essence the group treats death like a game; with no value on the fallen, only placing importance on the living. When Holden declares nothing in the universe can exist without his consent, he ensures his role as a god-like character. Judge Holden explains man is enslaved by nature and the true suzerain will no longer be...
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