Blood Meridian, Epilogue- “[B]ones and the gatherers of bones and those who do not gather”

stone on fireDunces!  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

Blood Meridian Chapter XXIII, Part II- “This night thy soul may be required of thee.”

dancing bear blood meridian book review dunce academyIntroduction

So here it is, the second half of the last chapter in the book.  The kid, now 45, is in a riotous saloon in Griffin, Texas, known in the area for its whores and evil.  At the center of all of this, probably not surprising to any of our readers, is the judge.  “Watching him across the layered smoke in the yellow light was the judge.” (p. 325).  What will happen? Continue reading

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 Seventeen: “[M]ore things exist without our knowledge than with it.”

National Geographic Picture- dunce academy blood meridian book review mccarthyINTRODUCTION

There are chapters where things happen and there are chapters where things are said.  I love them all, but especially love the chapters where the judge holds court.  And this one is a doozy. Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Sixteen: “In the desert were drag marks.”

desert-background-with-cactusINTRODUCTION

Lost scouts, found scouts, wild bulls, and lots of drinking, this was another rowdy chapter.  It increasingly seems like all these men have a death wish, or at least a death indifference.  But the judge keeps smiling, and they keep on drinking and dancing.  One gets the distinct impression that things are about to get a lot uglier too.  We’ll see. Continue reading

Blood Meridian, Chapter Fifteen: “You think I’m afraid of him?”

High Desert PlainsA 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

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.
Continue reading

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.