Study Guide

Blood Meridian Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By Cormac McCarthy

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Anticipation Stage and 'Fall' Into the Other World

At the opening of this book, the kid (our main character) doesn't have a whole lot going for him. His mother is dead and his father's an alcoholic who's drinking his life away. At fourteen, the kid decides he's had enough and runs away to find a better life. Little does he know that the world beyond his home is going to be ten times harsher than he expected.

Initial Fascination or Dream Stage

It's hard to say that the kid's initial venture into the world beyond his home is a dream or a place of fascination. It's more like a really harsh dose of reality. The kid gets involved with an insane American militia and barely escapes death only to find himself in jail. Next thing you know, he's working with another group of Americans to scalp Apache warriors for money. The closest thing he gets to a dream is all the money and free swag he gets fro the Mexicans for killing Apaches. Yes, there's a rock-star quality to his life at this point, but it's never conveyed to us as a happy existence.

Frustration Stage

Things get out of hand when Glanton's crew starts killing whoever they want and end up getting chased by the Mexican government (on top of all the Aboriginals tribes who already hate them). They continue doing whatever they want, but you get the sense that sooner or later, they'll get their comeuppance. And sure enough, that's exactly what happens when a band of Yumas attacks them in the middle of the night.

Nightmare Stage

After the Yumas attack, the kid barely escapes. But if things weren't already bad enough, one of his own people (Judge Holden) tries to kill him in the desert. The kid doesn't quite know why Holden wants to kill him, though it seems to have something to do with the kid being too compassionate for the judge's liking.

Thrilling Escape and Return

The kid makes a thrilling escape from the judge and makes it out of the desert alive. After that, he returns to a life of wandering around and getting by. Ten years after the Yuma attack, the kid runs into the judge in a tavern. The kid gets up to use the outhouse, and the judge pulls him inside and locks the door. We don't know exactly what happens, but the kid might be dead. In this sense, McCarthy puts a little extra spin on the whole "Voyage and Return" plot. Usually, the main character would make it out of the story alive. But in this one, McCarthy's judge character swoops in at the last second to create some serious doubt about the kid's fateā€¦because who likes happy endings anyways?

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...