Study Guide

Blood Meridian Chapter 22

By Cormac McCarthy

Chapter 22

  • The kid bums around San Diego for a while. But eventually some soldiers stumble on him and arrest him, assuming that he's a drifter looking for trouble. Only later do they realize that the kid has been involved in all kinds of violence.
  • One day, the judge shows up in the kid's cell, smiling down at him. He claims that he has told the police that the kid was the mastermind behind all of Glanton's butchering. So the kid is going to be hanged in the near future.
  • The judge accuses the kid of having too much of a conscience and of feeling bad for all the killing he's done. In the judge's mind, there's no room in the world for this kind of compassion. It needs to be stamped out. That said, the judge also claims that he was the one who always convinced Glanton not to kill the kid for his weakness.
  • Two days later, the kid is released. We don't really know why. He finds a doctor and finally gets the arrow in his leg taken out. That's a long time to walk around with something jabbed into your flesh. Yikes.
  • After he's recovered, the kid travels to Los Angeles, where he sees two men hanged in a public square. The two men are Toadvine and Brown. It looks like the law caught up with them.
  • The kid travels around asking about Tobin, but never hears anything about him. He spends the next eight years bumming around the west coast and doing odd jobs. He never hears anything about Tobin but hears lots about the judge.
  • One night, the kid comes across a butchered group of travelers. He sees an old woman sitting nearby and figures she's a survivor. He talks to her and tells her his story. But then he realizes that she's dead. In fact, she's been dead for many years, but the blowing desert winds have preserved her somehow.