Blood Meridian, Chapter Nineteen- “You done been paid.”

blood meridian sky Huge developments!  HUGE!  THE HUGEST!!!

Okay, this was a great and exciting (but also bloody and disturbing) chapter.  Tempting to jump to the end, but that’s not how we do things here at the good ship Dunce Academy.  But hang in there; it will be worth the wait. Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter 18: “Damn if you aint a sorry specimen.”

night riverThis has got to be the shortest chapter in the book, consisting of maybe just a line or two over three pages.  But there are some profound points to consider, particularly as pertaining to the view of zealous Christian religion and the behavior of the judge. Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Fourteen: “Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.”

quicksilver burrosINTRODUCTION

There are three major events in this chapter: (1) the group’s visit to the small stone town of Jesús María; (2) the group’s visit to Ures, the capital of the state of Sonora (curious, I looked on a map, and Jesús María is about 1570 kilometers, or (by my rough guesstimation) approximately 981 miles away, through hard, mountainous territory); and (3) a really, really bad day to be a mule or a muleteer in between.  At the end of Chapter 13, Glanton’s gang has killed and scalped Mexican soldiers, burned their uniforms, buried their bodies, and turned the scalps in for bounty.  There is a very vivid image of the group re-entering the city “haggard and filthy and reeking with the blood of the citizenry for whose protection they had contracted.” (p. 185).  Perhaps not surprisingly, they leave the City of Chihuahua in somewhat of a hurry, going north as if headed for El Paso.  But before they are even out of sight, they turn west “toward the red demise of that day.” (Id.).  There are repeated inferences that the group is “cursed.”  Cursed or no, they are certainly a curse to everyone they encounter.

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Blood Meridian, Chapter Twelve, Part II: “There’s enough to go around.”

red lake disasterThe indian slaughter chapters are the most gruesome, shocking, and unforgettable.  They are also some of the most vivid and beautifully, if terrifyingly, written.  Chapter 12 continues as Glanton’s band has found the Gileños and they are preparing for attack at first light.  Glanton gives a rousing speech of sorts: “When we ride in it’s ever man to his own. Dont leave a dog alive if you can help it.” (p. 155).  Every man for himself?  Glanton will show just how true this is before the encounter is over.  “How many is there, John?” one man asks.  “There’s enough to go around,” answers the judge.  Indeed.
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Blood Meridian, Chapter Twelve, Part I: “[F]or what could be said to occur unobserved?”

night desert moonThis chapter begins with the band of scalp-hunters traveling stealthily, only by night, and going to great lengths to cover any tracks (using clay to cover any indication of nail marks in their horses’ hooves, “bur[ying] their stool like cats,” even spitting their tobacco into pouches).  It is unclear whether this is purely done because they do not want their quarry (here, the Gileños) to know they are coming, or because they fear someone (something?) tracking them.  It almost seems like the behavior of the hunted, more than the hunters.  Everyone seems to be haunted in this country. Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter 14: “Tierras quemadas, tierras despobladas.”

[Guest Post by Christian Higgins, without whom there would apparently be no posts of any kind.  The dunce academy is in shambles.  Thanks for your diligence, Christian].
“Tierras quemadas, tierras despobladas” — burned lands, depopulated lands, but there’s an approximate rhyme to it.  I wonder if there’s some grim Mexican nursery rhyme that goes along with it.

Blood Meridian, Chapter Eleven- “[N]o man can put all the world in a book.”

The air is thinner now, the climate changed.  Cooler.  And one of the Delawares gets jacked right off the back of his horse by a huge, pig-eyed bear.  What a way to go.

There are beasts in this alien land.  Alien hearts.  Creatures more horrible than anywhere else.  But there are places more horrible, beasts more horrible still.  The indians are part of the land, their blood runs into the earth, bloodlands, part of the earth itself, for generations. Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Nine: “[I]nversions without end upon other men’s journeys.”

As suspected, there is another indian attack, mercifully less gratuitous.  It never gets hand-to-hand; they just take shots at each other from some distance, and the indians move on.  Toadvine hits one of them though, and they come upon him dead.  The Judge seems particularly interested in some of the items the Apache is carrying, a tigre-skin warbag (especially the “inward part of some beast” inside the bag, which he pockets), and a small skin bag the indian was carrying inside his drawers (which the Judge also keeps; the bag, not the drawers).  Are these relics of spiritual power?  Magic?  Voodoo?  Some other mystery? Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Seven – “[T]heir acts will ultimately accommodate history with or without their understanding.”

I have been putting this off, not because it wasn’t a good chapter, but because a lot of good stuff happened, and I want to do it justice.  It still won’t be thorough, but I am going to try to hit the high points.  For one thing, it was a bad chapter to be a chicken. Continue reading