Study Guide

Blood Meridian What's Up With the Ending?

By Cormac McCarthy

What's Up With the Ending?

"He wafts his hat and the lunar dome of his skull passes palely under the lamps and he swings about and takes possession of one of the fiddles and he pirouettes and makes a pass, two passes, dancing and fiddling at once. His feet are light and nimble. He never sleeps. He says that he will never die. He dances in light and in shadow and he is a great favorite. He never sleeps, the judge. He is dancing, dancing. He says that he will never die" (23.218).

At the end of the day, the judge is the only dude left standing. It's still tough to say whether he is human at all or some kind of supernatural being. He can dance like a feather even though he's seven feet tall. He says he'll never die, but who knows for sure? The book directly claims that the judge never sleeps, and here's the point where you have to wonder what exactly McCarthy is trying to symbolize with this character.

Does the judge represent chaos or order? Does he represent human progress or human evil? In the figure of the judge, McCarthy melds together all kinds of contradictory qualities. And if nothing else, he definitely wants the judge (like the ending of this book) to make you stop and think about the meaning of the universe and humanity's place in it. And let's just say, it's a pretty pessimistic view of human nature and man's purpose.

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