Cormac Mc Carthy's Blood Meridian Essay

1160 words - 5 pages

In the novel Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy, he illustrates how bloody and gruesome the expansion to the west really was. Deconstruction is defined as “a critique of the hierarchical oppositions that have structured western thought: inside/outside, mind/body, literal/metaphorical, speech/writing, presence/absence, nature/culture, form/meaning” (Culler 126). The author uses deconstruction so that the reader can see how dark the movement to the west was. As previously mentioned, deconstruction of a culture can take place in one’s mind, and by reading this book, the reader’s thoughts on American westward expansion changes because of the dark elements the author uses in his book. McCarthy does this in several ways such as using vivid details about the many battles and fights that happen on the Kid’s journey west, maintaining historical accuracy throughout, and the constant struggle between good and evil.
At the beginning of the novel, McCarthy introduces us to the Kid, who is pale and thin, and his parents. “His folks are known for hewers of wood and drawers of water but in truth his father has been a schoolmaster”, which is a fancy word for teacher (McCarthy 3). His “mother, dead these fourteen years, did incubate in her own bosom the creature who would carry her off” (McCarthy 3). The Kid can neither read nor write and he already has the taste for violence. When he is fourteen he decides to run away and heads west as far as Memphis with no knowledge of what to expect and no real survival skills.
As stated before, the Kid already had a taste for violence, and it is portrayed twice at the beginning of the novel. The first instance is when he runs into a drunken man outside of a bar because the Kid would not get out of the way. We later figure out that that man’s name is Toadvine. When they both get up the next morning, all bloody and muddy, Toadvine pulls out a guy’s eye with his thumbs with the help of the Kid. The second instance is when the Kid goes into the bar and asks the bar tender if he could work for a drink. After doing some work he came back to the bar and ask for his drink now, but instead of giving the Kid a drink the bar tender “brought up from under the bar an old-fashioned military pistol with a flint lock and shoved back the cock with the heel of his hand” and pointed it right at him (McCarthy 26). After that the kid flips out and kicks the crap out the bartender while stabbing him in the eye with a broken bottle. As the story goes on, we read about more and more bloody battles between the Mexicans, Indians, and the company. We also see that the kid starts to live up to his violent demeanor. This illustrates that the Kid was born with the taste for violence and now has been exposed to all of the violence going on in the west, and it shows us that he has changed. People tend to ignore the violent nature of the American expansion of the west in favor of the romantic notion of adventurous and hardy people braving the...

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