Tag Archives: Honor

Book Review: Blood Meridian, Or, The Evening Redness in the West

McCarthy, Cormac. Blood Meridian, Or, The Evening Redness in the West. 2010 Modern Library Edition ed. New York, NY: Modern Library, 2010. Print.

 

Many consider Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian too violent to read. Violence begins onGUEST_e7b7a5bd-5894-4e82-907d-da212ef1d4e8 the second page and continues unabated to the end. McCarthy delivers a treatise on man’s inhumanity to man in the form of genocide. Blood is a constant theme as blood is spilled in one senseless massacre after another. Blood is not the result of conflict, but the reason for it.

McCarthy weaves what could be a series of short stories describing the worth or lack of indigenous people’s lives in the latter half of the nineteenth century west. The story, seen through the eyes of the narrator, follows the Kid and a gang of killers. McCarthy’s narrator never allows the reader inside the mind of the characters. We learn only what McCarthy wants as he develops his characters. He forces the reader to imagine one’s vision of the murderous thoughts. He is masterful in constructing his performers while forcing his readers to judge them.

McCarthy uses understated allegory to deliver messages that express what the characters are or what they represent. Spitting is used throughout as a symbol of the low regard the men have for anything, including human life. The insult of the act says more than dialogue could deliver. Wolves are symbolic actors. Almost daily, we see wolves. The humans and the wolves are representative of hunters looking for easy prey. The only difference, wolves kill for survival.

Glanton and his gang are inherently immoral, evil, clichés of bad guys in black hats. The governments of Mexico and the United States, equally evil, legitimatize genocide. This allowed for the ferocious and persistent murder and attempted extermination of the native peoples of both countries.

Genocide is the predominant theme. Except for the Delaware’s, the Indians are shown as savages. This holds even when the Diegueño Indians rescue the Kid and the ex-priest. “They would have died if the indians had not found them” (312). The narrator refers to these people as savages, as aborigines. “they saw the halfnaked savages crouched…” (312).

Two central characters, Glanton and the Judge, build upon the theme of genocide. Glanton, when he kills an old Indian woman sitting in the square of an impoverished Mexican village. When he sees three of his men squatting with her, he dismounts and kills her. “The woman looked up. Neither courage nor heartsink in those old eyes. He . . . put the pistol to her head and fired” (102). On the very next page, he confirms his complete contempt for life when he tells the only Mexican in his band to scalp the woman’s corpse with these chilling words, “Get that receipt for us” (103). She is nothing more than a hundred-dollar bounty.

The reader becomes almost inured to the violence. Once the butchery began, it seems as though there can be nothing more disturbing—there is—the Judge is evil incarnate. The gang surprises and attacks a large Indian encampment, “the partisans [Glanton’s men] nineteen in number bearing down upon the encampment where there lay sleeping upward of a thousand souls” (161). The Judge leaves the devastated village with a captured child, a ten-year-old boy. He treats the child humanely, and the boy becomes somewhat of a mascot. Three days later, the depth of the Judge’s evil is shown. “Toadvine saw him with the child as he passed with his saddle, but when he came back ten minutes later leading his horse the child was dead and the judge had scalped it” (170). The reader is left to wonder if the Judge killed the boy because he thrives on murder, or if he defiled the child and killed him afterward.

McCarthy’s colorful and graphic language adds significantly to the ability of the reader to see, understand, and experience the scenes and settings. Short and straightforward, his portrayal of the gang as they cross the desert, conveys in a few easy to read lines, in which the reader can feel, and smell the riders. “They rode on, and the wind drove the fine gray dust before them and they rode an army of graybeards, gray men, gray horses” (259).

The Kid, born into a violent world, dies a violent death forty-five years later. Some assume that the Judge, a pedophile, and sexual deviant, rapes the Kid and leaves him for dead. We’ll never know the answer.

McCarthy’s final message to the reader, evil cannot be eradicated; it lives forever.

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Talented Writers – DEBORAH “JORDAN” BERNAL

This talented author writes under the name Jordan Bernal. Jordan is a committed fantasy fiction writer. She is so dedicated that as part of the research for her soon to be released novel, The Keepers of Eire, she traveled to Ireland where she visited and pictorially recorded the historical locations in her novel.

The Keepers of Eire

For centuries dragons have protected Ireland, their existence kept secret with the help of earth magic and their human riders. That secret is threatened now that the bodies of four riders have been found at sacred Irish sites.

Christian Riley, a man with secrets of his own, is haunted by vivid dreams of each slaying. As each dream intensifies, he wonders if he is the killer.

An American searching for her Irish roots, Devan Fraser, stumbles into the mystery of the murders while exploring the secrets behind her inherited heirloom dragon ring.

Christian’s only memento from the mother who gave him up for adoption is a dragon pendant that matches Devan’s ring. Together they discover the truth of dragons, their destinies, and the depths of honor and loyalty people will go to protect the ones they love.

Journey with Christian and Devan as they discover a shared destiny and rush to stop a dragon slayer.

Jordan is currently working on:

•Tri-Valley Writers 2nd anthology:
Fáilte to Ireland: Guinness Anyone? – Short story/travel
Writing at Zero Dark Thirty – Poem
Winter’s Grip – Poem

•Book 2 of The Keepers series: The Keepers of Caledonia

D. Jordan Bernal

Jordan Bernal earned her BS in Business Entrepreneurship. She spent most of her first career in the high-tech industry as a Product Coordinator / Technical Writer. Her enduring love of fantasy, especially dragons, inspired her to write her debut novel, The Keepers of Éire. She is a member of California Writers Club Tri-Valley Branch and credits her growth as a writer to her critique group, open mic nights, and various writing classes she has attended.

Jordan lives in the Tri-Valley region of Northern California. When she isn’t writing, or helping aspiring writers, Jordan enjoys reading, landscape photography, and spending time with Roarke, her Pomeranian.

Other published works:

•Mission Works 2 (Mission College, Santa Clara) 1997 –
Impressing a Dragon – Short Story
Goodbye My Friend – Non-fiction
•San Ramon Valley Times 2008 –
Mother’s Day flash prose for “Smiles and Tears
•Voices of the Valley: First Press 2011 –
The Keepers of Éire – a synopsis in poem format
Revelations – excerpt from novel The Keepers of Éire
•All That Remains – Las Positas College Anthology 2013 –
Dreams – Poem
Get Off The Road – Poem

To learn more about Jordan Bernal, or to contact her:

Website: www.jordanbernal.com
Blog: www.1dragonwriter.wordpress.com
Email: jordan@jordanbernal.com
Facebook: writerJordanBernal

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