Fabiola Reyes Q.
Professor Bryan Green
Postcolonialism and Frontiers in Contemporary Narrative and Film
13 July 2012
Landscape as an aesthetic representation of violence in Blood Meridian.
This analysis of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian attempts to examine the meticulous description of landscape as an aesthetic narration of westward expansion. The illustration ofexpansion in McCarthy emphasizes the relationship between violence and landscape in the depiction of the frontier from a mythical perspective. Based on historical facts and supported by the testimony in Chamberlain’s My confession, Blood Meridian embodies the brutality of a historical period in the American frontier during the 19th century that influenced the image of landscape of the frontier. Thenovel is filled with illustrations of the violent events that took place in the border of America by the Glanton gang in a language that resembles the cosmic imagery from the great classic epic. The killing spree and bloodshed of the period is embedded in the depiction of nature and image of the frontier.
Keywords: Landscape, Blood Meridian, violence, nature, aesthetics, narrative style.Introduction.
The western novel by Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian, describes the experience of “the kid” in the Glanton gang, a historical crowd of scalp hunters from the 19th century that prowled across the border between America and Mexico, going on a massive killing spree of Indians, Apaches, Mexicans, and almost every human they came across, even American citizens. The story developsaround Judge Holden, a hairless and frightening figure of knowledge and aggressive behavior in the group of scalp hunters. He is a child aggressor and an intimidating image of savagery that guides the gang through the massacre, being one of the few survivors of the killing spree along with “the kid” at the end of the novel.
The violence in the main characters is not the only feature thatcontributes to the representation of accurate, vivid atrocities from the period of American expansion, rather McCarthy’s narrative style and detailed references to the images in the description of landscape around the Glanton gang and “the kid” before he joined this group of scalp hunters.
According to Bolaño (2001), the approach in which McCarthy develops the description of several events in thestory converts the landscape into the leading character, claiming that Blood Meridian narrates the scenery as “a new world, quiet and paradigmatic and atrocious, where everything fits but humans… ruled by pain and anesthesia” (9)
This analysis focuses on the events in the novel that are constantly shaping the overall depiction of nature, emphasizing the violence portrayed in the scenery through thedepiction of McCarthy’s narrative language stylistics and aesthetic perspective.
The style of narrative in the novel is influenced by a particular strong use of language in the story; McCarthy’s language use and the beauty in the description of events also influence the portrayal of scenery and violence. The old-fashioned word choice and the detailed narration contribute to an aestheticspirit in the novel that attempts to place the reader in an outburst of emotions in the most horrifying episodes of old western violence in the novel. This style in McCarthy is developed by accurate descriptions that create an emotional effect in the reader, instead of delivering impressions in a subjective tone throughout the illustration of the events. Consequently, this crude depiction ofslaughter in the frontier is structured by two elements of his narrative style: the exhaustive and objective depiction of landscape and violence, and the tone and style in archaic language use throughout the novel.
Violence, landscape and aesthetics of language in Blood Meridian.
There are outstanding examples of crude narration of violence and the effect of it in landscape...
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