With all of the horrible suffering and physical discomfort that comes with living in the desert, you can sure bet that the characters in this book like to drink away their problems whenever they get the chance. Now Blood Meridian isn't the first book to tell us about Wild West saloons and it sure won't be the last. But the saloon and drinking scenes in this book are especially vivid because we're super aware of all the horror that people are trying to escape from when they drink. In this case, alcohol is a lot like medicine for a bunch of guys who are right on the edge of madness every second of the day. You know what they say—candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.
Questions About Alcohol and Drugs
Do you think that alcoholism is more forgivable in this book because of the harsh world the characters have to live in? Why or why not?
In what moments does the kid turn to liquor? Do you see any pattern? Please use evidence from the text to support your answer.
Are there any times when alcohol leaves a character vulnerable? Where? What does it teach us about booze?
Chew on This
In Blood Meridian, we learn that alcohol provides an escape from a horrible reality.
In Blood Meridian, alcohol is a type of slow death that's in partnership with the quick death of battle.