Study Guide

Blood Meridian Race

By Cormac McCarthy

Race

When you have a 350-page book that's all about white Americans, Mexicans, and Aboriginal people killing each other, you can bet that race is going to be a central theme in what's going on. No one in this book seems to care who started the conflicts between these three groups, but everyone seems pretty interested in ending things by wiping out their enemies. Glanton, for example, seems like he won't be happy until he's killed every last Aboriginal person in the world. Uh…good luck with that, dude. On the other hand, the Aboriginals and Mexicans both want Glanton dead for all the trouble he's caused, yet the Mexicans don't like the Aboriginal people either. So it really just turns into one giant knot of racism that usually ends in death.

Questions About Race

  1. Why does Captain White have such a deep hatred for Mexicans? Please support your answer with evidence from the text.
  2. Why do the Mexicans offer a bounty on the scalps of Apaches? How do they know the scalps people bring in actually belong to Apaches? Do they know at all?
  3. Are there any instances in this book where Glanton's gang gets along with any other race? Where?
  4. How do the white John Jackson and the black John Jackson sort out their differences?

Chew on This

In Blood Meridian, we learn that racial hatred is like a grease fire. The more water you throw on it, the more it'll spread.

Blood Meridian shows us that racism tends to exist in people who already have tons of other flaws. It usually doesn't appear in people who are otherwise good and moral.

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