Study Guide

Blood Meridian Violence

By Cormac McCarthy


If you want to start a conversation about Blood Meridian, you're pretty safe in saying that it's a violent book. Don't believe us? Take a look for yourself. Everywhere you look in this book, you'll see someone getting stabbed or shot or killed in a hundred other brutal ways. And the question you're always left asking is "Why?" Well most of the characters in this book (who are all men, by the way) don't have a clear answer for you. The judge, on the other hand, has a whole philosophical view of the world that celebrates violence as a productive force. For the judge violence is great because death is beautiful and the only way for new life to grow is to clear away all the old life. When you read Cormac McCarthy's writing, there's definitely some beauty there even in the most violent moments. But that doesn't mean you have to agree with the judge.

Questions About Violence

  1. At which point do you realize that the violence in this book will never let up? Why?
  2. Why do people keep killing each other in this book? Is it about self-preservation or do people actually enjoy it?
  3. Do we ever catch a glimpse of a world other than the violent one McCarthy puts in front of us? If so, where?
  4. Does the violence in this book shake your faith in human nature? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In Blood Meridian, McCarthy shows us that the only way for humanity to move forward is through brutal violence.

Blood Meridian shows us that no matter what the main characters might think, violence never accomplishes anything other than the production of more violence in an endless, pointless circle.

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