Study Guide

Blood Meridian Quotes

  • Madness

    "Solitary, half mad, his eyes redrimmed as if locked in cages with hot wires" (2.4).

    When the kid spends a night with an old hermit, he can tell that years of isolation in the desert have made the old man half-crazy. After all, how could you expect someone to stay sane alone in the desert, with all that sun and dust and general sense of lawlessness?

    "Toadvine was running down the street, waving his fists above his head crazily and laughing" (1.114).

    It's pretty clear that many of the men in this book have a true love for destroying stuff. In this scene, Toadvine burns down a hotel and runs through the streets laughing like a crazy person. The kid looks at all of this and thinks, "Yeah, this is a dude I want to hang out with." Talk about love at first sight.

    "Sproule was clawing at his neck and he was gibbering hysterically and when he saw the kid standing there looking down at him he held out to him his bloodied hands as if in accusation and then clapped them to his ears and cried out what it seemed he himself would not hear" (5.128).

    Sproule has been through enough punishment to drive anyone mad. After an attack by some Apaches, he's been left with a severely infected arm out in the middle of the desert (and this is long before the days of effective and easily accessible antibiotics). And if that weren't bad enough, a vampire bat attacks him while he's sleeping, which sounds like a one-way ticket to a rabies infection. It seems as though the whole world is against the guy, and he can't take it anymore.

    "The old man's full [Bathcat] said. Or mad" (8.26).

    You mad, bro? Bathcat has no time for the old Mexican man who tries to talk to him about killing Apaches. He tells his buddies not to listen to the old man because he's mad. It's pretty funny, though, that a group of bloodthirsty murderers like them are calling other people mad.

    "He looked at them. They were foul and ragged and half crazed" (9.35).

    You ride around in the desert long enough and you're going to run into some people who've been so badly beaten down by the sun and by constant attacks from Apaches, Americans, and Mexicans that there's really nothing left in them. Some people like to think they're hard and tough, but in the end, no one is invincible. Maybe they should have brought some sunscreen.

    "In the afternoon he lay bound to his bed like a madman while the judge sat with him and cooled his brow with rags of water and spoke to him in a low voice" (14.17).

    At one point, Glanton falls into a fever and goes half crazy with sickness. This is a big break from the normal cold, silent face that he shows to the world. Who knows? Maybe all those years of murdering are getting to him.

    "The brother had his wits stole in this place and the man now before them in his hides and his peculiar bootees was not altogether sane" (16.12).

    The kid and Glanton's crew come across two old brothers who've lived alone together in the desert for years. Like many people, they've lost most of their sanity by living out in the sandy wastelands. We also think it's kind of cute that McCarthy chose to use the word "bootees" to describe their shoes—that word makes us think of babies.

    "Glanton and his men were two days and nights in the streets crazed with liquor" (19.103).

    It takes a lot of energy for Glanton and his men to ride around and kill people all day. That's why they like to sit back and cut loose whenever they can, getting drunk and running around like crazy people.

    "The judge smiled, he tapped his temple. The priest, he said. The priest has been too long in the sun" (20.88).

    When Tobin warns the kid against trusting the judge, the judge implies that Tobin has gone crazy from being in the desert too long. The idea of the sun and sand driving someone crazy is a pretty old one, and the judge is happy to use it to his advantage.

    "In his cell he began to speak with a strange urgency of things few men have seen in a lifetime and his jailers said that his mind had come uncottered by the acts of blood in which he had participated" (22.2).

    The kid finally snaps at the end of the book, when he's thrown into a jail cell and forced to sit and think about his life and what he's done. His jailers know what he's been up to, and they assume that his life of violence has finally taken its toll on his sanity.

  • Race

    "I was a slaver, don't care to tell it. Made good money. I never did get caught. Just got sick of it" (2.47).

    Early in the book, the kid meets a man who used to capture and sell slaves. But the man says he got sick of it. You'd like to think he quit because he felt immoral. But the truth is that he didn't like spending so much of his life around non-white people.

    "What we are dealing with, he said, is a race of degenerates. A mongrel race, little better than n—s. And maybe no better" (3.95).

    Captain White really has a hate-on for the Mexicans. This probably has something to do with the fact that at this point in history (the 1840s), the Americans have just finished fighting a war with the Mexicans. And war has a habit of bringing out some racist attitudes against the enemy.

    "In this company there rode two men named Jackson, one black, one white, both forenamed John" (7.1).

    There are two John Jacksons in Glanton's militia—one black and one white. And guess what? They don't get along one bit. The world ain't big enough for the two of them, and one eventually kills the other. You'll have to read the book (or our chapter-by-chapter summary) to find out which one lives.

    "You don't get you black ass away from this fire I'll kill you graveyard dead" (8.77).

    The white John Jackson doesn't want to share the same campfire with the black John Jackson. Why? Because racism. Little does he know that this final insult will come back to bite him.

    "In three days they would fall upon a band of peaceful Tiguas camped on the river and slaughter them every soul" (13.17).

    Glanton doesn't really care whether the people he's slaughtering are armed. He just rides in and takes them all out. All he sees are non-white people who he wants to wipe from the face of the earth. Some might call this racist, but to us it sounds almost genocidal.

    "[They] rode out north in the cold darkness before daybreak carrying with them a contract signed by the governor of the state of Sonora for the furnishing of Apache scalps" (15.1).

    Despite his brutal behavior, Glanton always finds a way to get new contracts for hunting Apaches in Mexico. The Mexicans figure that even though Glanton is bad, the Apache raids are even worse. So they'll take on one problem at a time and worry about Glanton after the Apache threat is gone.

    "I don't like to see white men that way, Glanton said. Dutch or whatever. I don't like to see it" (16.16).

    Deep down, Glanton has a lot of pride in the white race. He never likes to see any white person living a dirty, crazy life because he feels it makes them just like any other race. Little does he know that all of his white supremacist ideas will eventually get him killed, but we can definitely see it coming all along.

    "She won't bring you nothin without I tell her to. I own this place" (16.111).

    One racist bartender decides that he's never going to serve anything to the black John Jackson. He makes himself perfectly clear, although he doesn't seem to realize that he's dealing with a bunch of bloodthirsty murderers…or maybe he just assumes everyone is, given the time and place.

    "Glanton told him to his face that any man who trusted an Indian was a fool" (19.1)

    Glanton hates the idea of peace between whites, Mexicans, and Aboriginal people. It's not quite clear though whether he thinks peace is impossible or whether he doesn't want there to be peace. After all, the guy has made an awful lot of money off the lack of peace, so the idea of peaceful coexistence and racial harmony probably doesn't interest him too much.

    "They dismounted and walked methodically among the fallen dispatching them man and horse alike each with a pistolball through the brain" (19.4).

    Glanton and his men have no mercy when it comes to killing Aboriginal people. They even kill the Aboriginal horses as though they've been symbolically ruined by their association with the Aboriginals. Talk about overkill...literally.

  • Religion

    "The façade of the building bore an array of saints in their niches and they had been shot up by American troops trying their rifles, the figures shorn of ears and noses and darkly mottled with leadmarks oxidized upon the stone" (2.155).

    How's this for symbolic? We come across and old church where the statues of saints have been used for target practice by American soldiers. It looks like people in this world believe in only one thing, and that's their own satisfaction. And the right to bear arms.

    "He prayed: Almighty God, if it ain't too far out of the way of things in your eternal plan do you reckon we could have a little rain down here" (4.20).

    It's pretty funny that half the characters in this book kill people and say they don't believe in God. But when they wish for something small like a drop of rain, they come crawling back. Then again, it's always hard to tell whether these men are being sarcastic.

    "Blood, he said. This country is give much blood. This Mexico. This is a thirsty country. The blood of a thousand Christs. Nothing" (8.34).

    An old Mexican man in a bar explains to the kid and his buddies that there's been a lot of blood shed in Mexico (and he's right). But when he compares the blood to the blood of "a thousand Christs" and then calls it "nothing," we realize he's saying something deeply philosophical. He's basically saying that the Christian world celebrates one guy who died on a cross. But in Mexico, there have been a thousand people just like Christ who've died, but it means nothing because there's so much death all around.

    "[God] speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things" (9.50).

    You might think at first glance that the judge is an atheist. But at one point, he agrees that God exists and the He always tells the truth through stones and bones. It ain't optimistic, but it ain't atheist either. Then again, the judge might just be messing with people—we wouldn't be surprised if he turned out to be Satan. Like, literally Satan.

    "Within the doorless cuartel the man who'd been shot sang church hymns and cursed God alternately" (9.65).

    People in the world of Blood Meridian often don't know what they think of God. Some people just spend half the time cursing God and the other half singing hymns in God's honor. That's when they're not busy killing each other, of course.

    "The gifts of the Almighty are weighed and parceled out in a scale peculiar to himself. It's no fair accountin and I don't doubt but what he'd be the first to admit it and you put the query to him boldface" (10.19).

    It's tough to say what God's big plan is, especially when you consider how many people in the world have to suffer, oftentimes for no apparent reason at all. Some people are convinced, though, that no matter what the big plan is, it's not a fair one.

    "Many of the people had been running toward the church where they knelt clutching the altar and from this refuge they were dragged howling one by one and one by one they were slain and scalped in the chancel floor" (13.44).

    Lots of people turn to religion in their times of suffering, or in this case, when they're being attacked. But unfortunately, no one comes to save them in this case. They all die and we're left wondering what kind of God would allow this sort of suffering to take place. But hey, whoever said God had to be a nice guy?

    "The good book does indeed count war an evil, said Irving. Yet there's many a bloody tale of war inside it" (17.22).

    It's fair to say that religion can sometimes be pretty contradictory. Irving, for example, is quick to point out that even though the Bible is against violence, there's a ton of violence inside it. Could we say the same thing of Blood Meridian?

    "Weigh your counsel, Priest, he said. We are all here together. Yonder sun is like the eye of God and we will cook impartially upon this great siliceous griddle I do assure you" (20.69).

    The judge isn't a big fan of the ex priest Tobin because Tobin seems to be the only one who can see the evil that's lurking beneath all the judge's charm. The jury's still out on whether the judge is actually Satan, though.

    "I'm no priest and I've no counsel, said Tobin" (20.70).

    Tobin had no interest in playing the role of priest for the judge or the rest of Glanton's gang. He just wants to be a mercenary like everyone else, since he thinks there's no place for mercy or compassion in the harsh world of the Southwestern United States.

  • Alcohol and Drugs

    "There is no such joy in the tavern as upon the road thereto" (3.193).

    An old Mennonite makes a clever observation when he says that a tavern can never live up to what people expect of it. It's not drinking that's pleasurable, he says, but the anticipation of drinking. In other words, alcohol can never provide what people are looking for, which is fulfillment and peace of mind.

    "I think she'd have you beware the demon rum. Prudent counsel, don't you think?" (7.122).

    A fortune teller tells John Jackson to be careful of rum. And guess what? Dude ends up getting shot with an arrow while he's drunk.

    "Toadvine doled the coppers onto the bar and drained his cup and paid again. He gestured at the cups all three with a wag of his finger" (8.17).

    Toadvine and his buddies don't know the meaning of rest. For them, the only thing they want to do when they're not fighting or murdering people is to drink.

    "The first thing they asked for was whiskey and the next was tobacco" (9.36).

    Whenever Glanton's crew meets people on the road, the first thing people are always looking for is whiskey. How else are they going to forget about their horrible lives for a few hours?

    "Finally a man appeared and opened the gate. He was slightly drunk and he held the gate while the horsemen rode through one by one into the little flooded courtyard" (14.8).

    It's pretty common to run into drunk people in the wild west. Even when random people open doors, they're usually drunk because that's just how people roll in the old west. Sure, it'll kill them eventually. But there aren't a whole lot of people who plan on making it to 50.

    "By midnight there were fires in the street and dancing and drunkenness and the house rang" (14.88).

    Whenever Glanton and his men get a chance to part, they tend to go all the way with it. They get totally drunk and end up trashing entire towns. And Ke$ha thought she went hard. These guys make your crazy night out seem as tame as a study date in the library.

    "They were drunk on tiswin they'd brewed and there had been shooting in the night two nights running and an incessant clamor for whiskey" (16.49).

    As if alcohol weren't dangerous enough on its own, it turns out that Glanton and his men like to fire their guns randomly when they get drunk, which sounds like pretty much the worst idea ever. And as you might expect, they occasionally hit an innocent bystander and kill them. Unfortunately, there's no police force strong enough to take on Glanton's gang. In fact, it seems like most of the time there's no police force at all.

    "Glanton and his men were two days and nights in the streets crazed with liquor" (19.103).

    Once again, Glanton and his men run amuck whenever they get drunk together. Their entire lives seem to exist in the steady rhythm of kill people/get drunk/kill people/get drunk.

    "Whiskey it is. He set up a glass and uncorked a bottle and poured perhaps half a gill and took the coin" (23.126).

    When the judge sees the kid for the first time in ten years, his first instinct is to order some shots of whiskey. Just like old times, eh?

    "Then he took his hat off and placed it on the bar and took up the glass and drank it very deliberately and set the empty glass down again" (23.127).

    Cormac McCarthy is a very deliberate writer and the judge is a deliberate character. That's why we always hear about every action he makes in specific detail. The specific detail, though, also suggests that no matter how much he drinks, the judge doesn't really get drunk. And that makes him dangerous.

  • Violence

    "A rattling drove of arrows passed through the company and men tottered and dropped from their mounts" (4.79).

    We get one of our first tastes of brutal violence in chapter 4 of this book, when a band of Apaches attacks the small army of Captain White and brutally wipes them out. And you'd better get ready for a whole lot more.

    "In this container with hair afloat and eyes turned upward in a pale face sat a human head" (5.159).

    Hey, that's not a pickle. Yup, the Mexicans have chopped off Captain White's head and put it in a jar. They might just enjoy the spectacle of it, but the gesture is no doubt a warning to any other white Americans who plan on messing with Mexico.

    "The cat simply disappeared. There was no blood or cry, it just vanished" (7.4).

    McCarthy is a fan of big guns, and so is the character Glanton. In this scene, we expect a lot of blood and gore when Glanton shoots a cat. But his gun is so powerful that the cat just disappears. When you think about it, there's something so much more violent about this image, as though the gun simply wiped the cat from existence altogether. Poor kitty.

    "He pointed with his left hand and she turned to follow his hand with her gaze and he put the pistol to her head and fired" (7.177).

    Glanton doesn't pick and choose when it comes to killing Aboriginal people. In this scene, he comes across an old, isolated Aboriginal woman and shoots her in the head because he can get money for her scalp. Grandma never even stood a chance.

    "Blood, he said. This country is give much blood. This Mexico. This is a thirsty country. The blood of a thousand Christs. Nothing" (8.34).

    The old Mexican man in the bar knows that a lot of blood has been shed in Mexico. But at the end of the day, he believes that all of this blood makes any future death seem unimportant. In other words, people are so used to brutal violence that it barely even upsets them anymore. Let's not forget that the old man says this even while his son sits behind him dying from a stab wound.

    "The white man looked up drunkenly and the black stepped forward and with a single stroke swapt off his head" (8.81).

    John Jackson has had enough of his fellow cowboy's racism. So he just gets up and chops the guy's head off with a single stroke of his knife. That's how you settle a disagreement in this book, apparently.

    "Before the last poor n—r reached the bottom of the slope there was fifty-eight of them lay slaughtered among the gravels" (10.78).

    The violence in this book is almost always mixed with some sort of racism. Sometimes it's enough to make you want to put the book down. But eventually it all gets so excessive that the violence almost gets kind of boring. And that's exactly the kind of thing McCarthy wants to confront you with—your own boredom at the suffering of others. Kind of creepy, right?

    "The man as they rode turned black in the sun from the blood on their clothes and their faces and then paled slowly in the rising dust until they assumed once more the color of the land through which they passed" (12.53).

    In a symbolic moment, the blood on the riders' clothes makes them blend in with the color of the red and black land around them. It's almost as if their violence has brought them to a more primal and essential kind of humanity. It's almost as if they are more connected to the land because of their violence. But now we have to do the tough work of deciding the bigger implications of what this means.

    "In three days they would fall upon a band of peaceful Tiguas camped on the river and slaughter them every soul" (13.17).

    Glanton's group comes across a group of peaceful Aboriginals and slaughters every last one of them. Just because.

    "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).

    A young soldier helps David Brown escape from prison, and David Brown thanks him by shooting him in the back of the head. Then again, most of us could probably see this coming, even if the soldier couldn't. You don't trust folks in the world of Blood Meridian.

  • Man and the Natural World

    "[The bat] crafted in his neck two narrow grooves and folding its wings over him it began to drink his blood" (5.126).

    Just when Sproule looks like he's on his last nerve, a vampire bat comes out of nowhere and bites his neck. It's almost as if nature is trying its best to kill the dude. Or at least turn him into a vampire.

    "The cat simply disappeared. There was no blood or cry, it just vanished" (7.4).

    Yes, an explosion of blood and guts is violent. But there's something eerie about the fact that Glanton's bullet makes a cat disappear. It's almost as if the animal means nothing and has no right to exist in a book this violent. McCarthy must not have been much of a cat person.

    "A small mottled stallion belonging to one of the Delawares came out of the remuda and struck at the thing twice and then turned and buried its teeth in its neck" (9.36).

    Even the horses in this book are mean to each other. Sheesh, is there any living thing in this book that doesn't want to hurt other living things?

    "[God] speaks in stones and trees, the bones of things" (9.50).

    The judge doesn't buy the Biblical idea that the world is only a few thousand years old. He's convinced that the world is millions of years old, which is something the fossil record supports. What's interesting is that despite this scientific attitude, he still suggests there's a God.

    "The bear had carried off their kinsman like some fabled storybook beast and the land had swallowed them up beyond all ransom or reprieve" (11.3).

    Don't worry, it's not just humans who look brutal and terrible in this book. There are also horses that bite other horses and bears that eat people the first chance they get. In case you didn't get it earlier, McCarthy paints a brutal picture of ALL things.

    "In the days to come they would ride up through a country where the rocks would cook the flesh from your hand and where other than rocks nothing was" (11.6).

    We've mentioned how the animals in Blood Meridian are just as vicious as the humans, but in this scene, it sounds like even the rocks are violent in the way they reflect the sun and heat up so much they'll burn your flesh. What's a person got to do to find an oasis in all of this horrible scenery? In McCarthy's world, the oasis would probably be full of piranhas anyway…

    "The man as they rode turned black in the sun from the blood on their clothes and their faces and then paled slowly in the rising dust until they assumed once more the color of the land through which they passed" (12.53).

    The more blood Glanton's men get on their clothes, the more they blend in with the Southwestern landscape of this novel. It's as though their connection to violence gives them a more intimate relationship with the desert they're always riding through.

    "[They] rode infatuate and half fond toward the red demise of that day, toward the evening lands and the distant pandemonium of the sun" (13.68).

    When you see words like "demise" and "pandemonium" used to describe a landscape, you can bet your last dollar that McCarthy is making a symbolic point. In this case, the landscape reflects the death and madness that's always hanging over Glanton's band of bloodthirsty men. Maybe they could use a change of scenery…

    "Only nature can enslave man and only when the existence of each last entity is routed out and made to stand naked before him will he be properly suzerain of the earth" (14.62).

    The judge is convinced that as long as there are things in nature that men don't know about, nature will always have the upper hand. That's why he spends so much time writing in his ledger and trying to learn as much about nature as he can.

    "They're gone. Ever one of them that God ever made is gone as if they'd never been at all" (23.3).

    Toward the end of this book, the kid has a conversation with an old buffalo hunter who's sad that all the buffalo in North America have been wiped out by hunters. In fact, half of the buffalo he's seen killed died for no reason other than the fact that the hunters were bored. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how species begin to go extinct.

  • Sex

    "The black stood stripped to the waist behind the tent and as the juggler turned with a sweep of his arm the girl gave him a shove and he leaped from the tent and strode about with strange posturings under the lapsing flare of the torches" (7.185).

    John Jackson has been having sex with the daughter of a juggler behind the juggler's back. Though it's not like the juggler could do anything about it even if he knew. He's more or less at the mercy of Glanton and his men.

    "Standing just within the door of a foul saloon with his eyes shifting under the brim of the hat he wore and the light from a wallsconce on the side of his face he was taken for a male whore and set up to drinks and then shown the rear of the premises" (22.64).

    The kid has no way of making money once Glanton's gang is killed, so he wanders the deserts and often gets mistaken for a male prostitute. It's not really clear whether he takes any men up on their offers to pay him for sex.

    "Garishly clad whores were going out through a door at the rear of the premises" (23.132).

    In the Wild West, the police weren't too keen on enforcing the laws against prostitution. In fact, most of the time there were no police at all. So yeah, stuff like sex for money was pretty darn common.

    "I seen you right away, she said. I always pick the one I want" (23.193).

    Throughout the book, the kid can seem like a passive guy. And that goes for sex, too. In this case, a prostitute walks up to him and more or less tells him they're going to have sex. Well, that was easy.

    "He was naked and he rose up smiling and gathered [the kid] in his arms against his immense and terrible flesh and shot the wooden barlatch home behind him" (23.206).

    This is the last time we ever see the kid in this book. It's hard to tell whether there is anything sexual about the judge embracing him and pulling him into the outhouse. The judge might have sex with him, might kill him, or both. It's impossible to know.

    "She led him through a door where an old Mexican was handing out towels and candles and they ascended like refugees of some sordid disaster the darkened plankboard stairwell to the upper rooms" (23.194).

    A small prostitute grabs the kid and takes him up to a room above a tavern for sex. Being his usual confused and passive self, the kid decides to follow. At this point, he's like a leaf going in whatever direction he's blown by the wind. This time it just happens to be right into a prostitute's bed.

    "Lying in the cubicle with his trousers about his knees he watched her" (23.195).

    The kid doesn't even get a room for his sex with a prostitute. It's just a little cubicle, which goes to show how gross and non-private sex in the Old West could be. Then again, what wasn't horrible about the Old West, at least according to this book?

    "He watched her take up her clothes and don them and he watched her hold the candle to the mirror and study her face there" (23.195).

    Who knows what this prostitute is thinking when she gets up and looks at herself in a mirror after sex. Maybe she's thinking, "We sure don't get many female characters in this book." We'll never know because McCarthy never tells us.

    "Let's go, she said. I got to go" (23.196).

    Now that the sex with the kid has finished, the prostitute doesn't have any time for chit chat. She needs to get back downstairs to find her next john (customer). The kid might want a moment to connect with her, but the world of this book is no place for the sentimental type.

    "He sat up and swung his legs over the edge of the little iron cot and stood and pulled his trousers up and buttoned them and buckled his belt" (23.199).

    Just like that, the kid's sex is over and he must return to his sad, lonely life. Come to think of it, this is the first time we've ever seen him have sex in the book. It's possible that up until this moment, he's been a virgin.

  • Family

    "His folk are known hewers of wood and drawers of water but in truth his father has been a schoolmaster" (1.1).

    This is one of the only mentions of the kid's father that this book ever gives us. You'd think that a trained schoolmaster would be a more upright and responsible guy, but it doesn't sound like it.

    "He lies in drink, he quotes from poets whose names are now lost. The boy crouches by the fire and watches him" (1.1).

    In his younger years, all the kid can do is crouch and watch his father drink his life away. No wonder the kid decides to get up and run away for adventure. Sure, the world awaiting him is awful, but so is the world at home. Can't this kid just get a break?

    "The mother dead these fourteen years did incubate in her own bosom the creature who would carry her off" (1.3).

    It looks like the kid's mother died while she was giving birth to him (the kid). As you can imagine, this probably affected the kid's relationship to his father in a horrible way, especially since the father will never say the mother's name to the kid.

    "The father never speaks her name, the child does not know it" (1.3).

    Not once in his entire life has the kid heard his father say his mother's name. The father probably blames the kid for her death, since she died while giving birth to him (the kid).

    "He has a sister in the world that he will not see again" (1.3).

    This is the only mention we get of anyone in the kid's family other than his father. And as the novel reminds us, this sister might as well not exist because the kid will never see her again once he runs away from home. This is something he has already accepted.

    "All history present in that visage, the child the father of the man" (1.3).

    Cormac McCarthy has a clever way of arguing that a child can be the father of a man. When you think about it, the kid character is a child before he grows up into a man. That means the child came first, which makes him the "father" of the man.

    "At fourteen he runs away. He will not see again the freezing kitchenhouse in the predawn dark" (1.4).

    The kid decides to run away from home at fourteen, and based on the description of the freezing kitchen, it doesn't sound like he's running away from much.

    "[Glanton] rode out alone on the desert and sat the horse and he and the horse and the dog looked out across the rolling scrubland and the barren peppercorn hills and the mountains and the flat brush country and running plain beyond where four hundred miles to the east were the wife and child that he would not see again" (13.14).

    This passage almost makes it sound as if there's some part of Glanton that misses his wife and children. It's hard to tell whether this is just a detail the narrator's adding or something Glanton feels deeply sad about.

    "He seemed not to be aware that his brother was dead inside the church" (16.12).

    Later in the book, Glanton and his men come across two old brothers who've gone crazy from living in the desert. Glanton's men kill one of the brothers and leave the other one alive. These brothers have no one but each other in the whole world, so it's hard to imagine how cruel it is to kill one and leave the other alive.

    "Don't you know I'd have loved you like a son?" (22.18).

    The judge insists that he could have loved the kid like a son had the kid not disappointed him so much. The judge has always been unsatisfied with how weak and compassionate the kid is in a world where these qualities aren't acceptable. We're just thinking, "Jeez dude, cut the kid some slack and worry about your own problems."