Masters Thesis

Violence begetting reverence: natural evil as "the pulsebeat of the world" in Cormac McCarthy's Blood meridian

The text offers a barren landscape and desolate setting, governed by a violent zealot. We are presented with characters whose minds we cannot penetrate and an unresolved ending, with our only potential hero dying off just like the rest of them, except perhaps a little more personally. The most resistant of them all, the kid, is still annihilated by the judge despite having earned something akin to the judge’s favor at various intervals. These are the facts we have to deduce the forces at work in the text. Superimposed over the whole of Blood Meridian, the concept of evil does not satisfy, for there are too many unanswered questions. While the scholarship has shown “evil” to be a grey area in the novel, the reader can easily identify the judge as a destructive force, and thus closer to Aquinas’s concept of natural evil, or dissolution.

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