Study Guide

Blood Meridian Sex

By Cormac McCarthy


It's true that sex doesn't show up all the time in Blood Meridian. But this is the Wild West we're talking about, so you're bound to get some tavern scenes with prostitutes and barmaids. What makes sex such an important theme in this book is that whenever it does show up, it reminds you just how dude-centric this book is. And we're not calling McCarthy out for that. Rather, McCarthy seems to use these scenes to remind readers that men weren't the only people who existed in the old west. The problem is that women were often reduced to the role of mother or prostitute. What gives?

Questions About Sex

  1. Where does sex tend to be mentioned in this book? Why?
  2. Do you think sex in this book is treated the same way as alcohol (as an escape), or do you think McCarthy explores the possibility of meaningful sexual relationships between people?
  3. With all the violence and brutality of this book, are you surprised that McCarthy doesn't show more sexual abuse or violence? Do you think he holds back on this type of violence? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy shows us that hiding behind the obvious violence between men is a much more long-term sexual violence toward women.

In Blood Meridian, McCarthy treats sex as just one of the many terrible things that the men in this book engage in.

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