Study Guide

Blood Meridian Chapter 11

By Cormac McCarthy

Chapter 11

  • While riding through some woody area, Glanton comes across a bear and shoots it in the chest. But the bear doesn't go down right away. It bites one of Glanton's Delaware (Aboriginal) guides and pulls him off his horse. The men try to kill it, but it escapes into the forest carrying the Delaware guide with it. The other Delawares spend three days trying to find their friend, but they never do. Glanton and his gang move on and the Delawares eventually catch up with them.
  • One night, a guy named Webster sees the judge looking at plants and making notes in a ledger. Webster figures that the judge is trying to document everything he comes into contact with. He tells the judge it's no use and that no one can put the world in a book. But the judge doesn't seem fazed.
  • The judge decides to tell the group a story about a harnessmaker who used to beg people along the road for money. One day, a rich young man came past and the harnessmaker brought him home for dinner. The young man gives the harnessmaker a speech about treating people well and being rewarded by god. The harnessmaker repents and promises to be better in the future. Then he offers to walk the rich young man down the road. When they're alone, the harnessmaker kills him and steals his money. The moral of the story seems to be that bad people don't change and that they'll always take advantage of the weak.
  • When the judge is finished, the men of Glanton's crew all say the story is bogus. Some claim to know the actual guy who did the murder. Others claim that the dude wasn't a harnessmaker but some other kind of professional. Rather than thinking about the moral of the story, they're interested in arguing the details.
  • Ultimately, the judge argues that humanity is degenerate and that there is no God watching over them and asking them to be nice to one another. Humans are even more violent and mindless than animals when it comes to hurting one another.
  • The group comes upon some more abandoned mud huts and Glanton tames a vicious dog and makes it obey him. He boasts that he can tame any dog to do what he wants. Then they ride through some more mountains. It's hard to tell where all of this is leading. It just seems like villages followed by mountains followed by deserts…