Dunces! The epilogue is brief, just a single paragraph, but I think it merits its own analysis. The first line provides: “In the dawn there is a man progressing over the plain by means of holes which he is making in the ground.” (p. 337). The dawn? Is this dawn of the next morning? The dawn of time? Who is this man? Continue reading →
A new contract, a lottery, an escape, a sacrifice. Oh, and the ogdoad (i.e. a group or set of eight) [shiver]. The chapter heading is rich with the promise of big, wild events to come (note: these chapter headings are increasingly becoming one of my favorite parts of Blood Meridian) . Glanton’s group leaves Ures rather quietly, just three days after arriving. (p. 204). They have a new contract for Apache scalps signed by the governor of Sonora. Carroll and Sanford, the newest members of the gang, and never really a part of it, decide that they have had enough, and “defect.” (Id.). But the group gains a new member, a boy named Sloat, left sick to die by a gold train passing through weeks earlier. Apparently there is a commodore with the same last name, and there is a funny exchange between Glanton and the boy about whether they are related. Continue reading →
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.
This 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 →