Study Guide

Blood Meridian Man and the Natural World

By Cormac McCarthy

Man and the Natural World

There are few writers who can describe a landscape as vividly as Cormac McCarthy. But the dude isn't describing the land just for its own sake. Throughout this book, McCarthy gives us the sense that the landscape of Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. is thirsty for blood and that it'll never be satisfied. Further, the people in this book who commit the most murder seem to blend in and connect with the land more than people who try to act civilized. In the end, there's a primal connection in this book between violence and the blood-red sand of the desert. The thing that we then need to figure out is what this means for humanity and for civilization moving forward.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Do you think McCarthy's descriptions of the landscape are effective, or just overblown and repetitive? Why?
  2. What do you think the connection is between the violence in this book and the landscape of Mexico and the Southwest U.S.? Is there something inherently violent about these areas?
  3. What do you make of the title of this book? What is a meridian and how is a "blood meridian" connected to McCarthy's descriptions of nature?
  4. Do you think this book shows too cruel a treatment of animals? Do you think it encourages a lack of respect for animals? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In Blood Meridian, we confront a world in which nature itself seems to endorse all of the horrible acts of violence we read about.

In Blood Meridian, it's not as though nature is good or evil. It simply doesn't care.

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