Study Guide

David Brown in Blood Meridian

By Cormac McCarthy

David Brown

David Brown is one of the roughnecks from Glanton's crew. We never learn much about the guy that makes him different from the others in Glanton's crew. The one thing that makes him stand out the most is the way Brown constantly gets himself out of sticky situations. For example, he survives a big battle with a huge arrow sticking out of his thigh:

David Brown went among these haggard butchers as they crouched before the flames but he could find him no surgeon. He carried an arrow in his thigh, fletching and all, and none would touch it. (12.56)

The reason no one will touch the arrow in his thigh is because Glanton has ordered people to show no mercy to injured men and to let them die. Brown pleads with his comrades:

Boys, said Brown. I'd doctorify it myself but I cain't get no straight grip. (12.57)

But the truth is that Brown wouldn't help any of them if they were in the same situation. He proves as much after he murders the same young soldier who helps him escape from prison:

They rode up into the dripping hills and in the first light Brown raised the rifle and shot the boy through the back of the head. (19.81)

More than anything, Brown reminds us that there's just no room for trust or mercy in the world of Blood Meridian.

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