20 comments on “Ch. 9 & 10 Discussion

  1. Naly – Chapter 10

    “You wouldn’t think to look at him that he could outdance the devil himself now would ye?” (129).
    I found it interesting that Tobin compared the judge to the devil. In this way, I get the feeling that the characters within the book also know that the judge has some sort of supernatural aura/abilities. Coupled with a comparison to the devil instead of God, they know/think he has evil qualities.

    “He’s an uncommon love for the common man and godly wisdom resides in the least of things so that it may well be that the voice of the Almighty speaks most profoundly in such beings as lives in silence themselves” (130).
    From this, I get that he’s saying the ones who don’t seem to be all that powerful are actually the ones who are in power. Maybe a foreshadow of what’s to come.

    “It was about half consumed and we set upon it with our knives and took the rest of the mear with us and we ate it raw in the saddle and it was the first meat we’d seen for six days” (135).
    I thought that this sentence showed an obvious sign that the company is gradually losing their humanity. In some ways, it reminds me of the boys from Lord of the Flies.

    Discussion questions:
    What’s the importance of Tobin being an expriest in the novel?
    Is there any symbolism in how the company found the judge (alone on a rock in a deserted area)?

    • I think that since Tobin was a priest, this emphasizes the idea that such a lawless violent land can corrupt anyone, but it also gives Tobin some characteristics of a mentor/wise person.

    • It almost seems impossible that the judge was there accidentally and just knew that they should travel into the mountains. Wether it was planned/fated/supernaturally imposed is questionable. McCarthy makes it seem like he could just be really crazy and really lucky though so idk man?

  2. Chapter 10 quotes and discussion prompts/questions

    “What’s he a judge of. Tobin glanced off across the fire. Ah lad, he said. Hush now. The man will hear ye. He’s ears like a fox” (141).
    This quote goes back to the judge as an omniscient character (the devil, maybe, the antichrist—that kind of thing). Tobin also knows the judge can be dangerous even though the judge is in his group and has saved him in the past.

    “Every man in the company claims to have encountered that sootysouled rascal in some other place”. . . “There he sat on a rock in the middle of the greatest desert you’d ever want to see. Just perched on this rock like a man waitin for a couch” (131).
    This is another piece of evidence that the judge is supernatural. It’s as if he’s omnipresent. The way he can come to the rescue of Tobin and his crew makes him all the creepier.

    The judge is the satanic figure in the novel. That being said, discuss the irony in the devil being “the judge” and how he controls everything out there in the desert.

  3. Emma – Chapter 10

    “Tobin glanced off across the fire. Ah lad, he said. Hush now. The man will hear ye. He’s ears like a fox.” (141)
    The ending of the chapter adds to the judge’s mysterious characterization. Also, the mention of the fire could be seen as a subtle allusion to hell and the devil.

    “You wouldn’t think to look at him that he could outdance the devil himself now would ye?” (129)
    This comparison of the judge and the devil is ironic since the judge is the devil.

    Discussion question:
    Why does everyone listen to the judge and work together to make ammunition? What is it about him that gives him the power to ensue teamwork in a group of murderers?

    • To answer your question Emma, this connects to how the Judge is the satanic figure of the novel. He rallies people to do evil; he tempts them to kill/murder/sin all for the sake of evil and destruction, just like any other satanic figure. The exact motive for the Judge, I do not know, but this would be something very cool to read about in Blood Meridian, but it will only happen if the Judge opens up to the Kid about his past and his growing up as a rebel/evil kid (just like the Kid), which probably won’t happen since we don’t usually get lots of characterization for satanic figures in novels–their just usually bad (i.e. Prof. Woland).

    • I think that everyone listens to the judge because at this point they really do not have much choice. The fact that he knows how to make the ammunition that they need is not surprising when considering it’s the judge, but nobody would have tried to defy him if they did have doubts. If they had, he would probably have gotten rid of them right there.

  4. I think that something the judge’s appearance could emphasize the idea of the judge being the devil because the devil is known to have supernatural powers

  5. “…to the north dustspouts rose wobbling…like some drunken djinn” (117).
    The judge was also described as a djinn a couple chapters ago. Thoughts? Is this a judge/satan kind of thing? Are there any more judge/satan things in chapter nine?

    “…a dead man slumped out and hung head down. There was another man inside and a boy and they lay enhearsed with their weapons in a stink to drive a buzzard off a gut cart. Glanton took the guns and ammunition and handed them out” (118).
    I was struck by the lack of respect for the dead. Remember when the white John Jackson got killed and the gang just left his headless body sitting there? Sick.

    *Mindless violence goes beyond just beating someone up.* Disrespecting someone who has died is as inhumane as killing them. They die without a funeral or a burial. No one even knows. They never find peace, not even in death. Their bodies are left to rot. Discuss?

    The horse “had been bitten on the nose and its eyes bulged out of the shapeless head in a horror of agony” (121).
    How do you guys feel about the animals in this book? I think they’re probably not too happy. The men aren’t putting this sick horse out of its misery because they want to save the meat for as long as possible. I guess that’s understandable, and maybe this is just me, but I feel that animals are just so pure and good and it takes a special kind of mindless violence to be cruel to them. I just really like animals okay

    “…a Mexican or halfbreed boy…” (122). We definitely wouldn’t call a human a halfbreed today.
    Race dynamics. Discuss.

    “A horse put its long wet face in at the door and Glanton looked up and spoke to it…” (123). Again, I’m just really touched by animals. But was anyone else struck by this, too? He talked to the horse and it understood. LIke, are Glanton and this horse best friends? Is he treating it with kindness? Interesting.

    “Soon they were conversing senselessly about the merits and virtues of the dead boy” (125). Senseless, but not mindless. They respect him in death. That’s all anyone wants.

    “Someone had reported the judge naked atop the walls, immense and pale in the revelations of lightning, striding the perimeter up there and declaiming in the old epic mode” (124).
    LIterally what the heck is he doing. What do you guys think of this? Is this a satan thing?

    • I definitely think the book is portraying the Judge with a Satanic or otherworldly theme in mind. The descriptions of a figure naked with extremely pale skin practically lurking with unknown intentions give the effect of creating a dramatic negative character.

    • I agree the Judge is definitely portrayed as a Satanic or supernatural figure, with the description of his physical appearance coupled with his mysterious behavior with unknown intentions.

  6. chapter 9 Quotes

    ” They were foul and ragged and half crazed… The first thing they asked for was whiskey and then the next is tobacco” (121)

    Through out the chapters the only way these people ever find a way to relax is through having some alcohol other than that its just finding ways of destruction through the city.

    ” Books lie, he said
    God don’t lie.
    No sais the judge. He does not, And these are his words . He held up a chunk of rock.
    He speaks in stone and trees, the bones of things.” (122)

    Focusing on the last line, I thought it was very interesting because first of all we can see the theme of religion in this line. Its also to see how the judge acknowledges there is a God, normally we would think he’s an atheist because of all the past things he has done. ( In certain aspects I certainly see him as the devil)

    what do you think of the Judge’s acknowledgment there is a God? Is it a façade he is putting on or is it for realz?)

    • I think this just emphasizes that is who McCarthy is trying to make him out to be. Without god, there can’t be a devil, right?

  7. Comment on Hillary’s question:
    I love the connection between the Judge and Satan because it works so well. The Judge approves of the Kid’s wrong doings; every time the Kid gets out of a bad situation with violence, the Judge gives a smile/nod of approval. I’m interested to see if the Judge begins tempting the Kid more, so far I’ve just seen a lot of approving and not too much tempting.

  8. Throughout chapter 10 there are many relations and connections to how the judge is the incarnation of the devil. But with such atmosphere in which the novel is in at the moment, why is that he is seen as the authority? He did lead the gang into being able to make ammunition to be able to surivive. Does it seem as if the group depend upon him to survive?

    • I believe that since the gang is in such a desolate, violent place McCarthy is saying that evil is the ultimate authority and that is why the Judge, who is Satan-like seems to make the right decisions and knows how to survive.

  9. I believe that since the gang is in such a violent desolate place the fact that the Judge, a satanic character, seems to know best and knows how to survive emphasizes the fact that evil has the ultimate authority in this land.

  10. “He was naked save..” versus “naked a top of the walls”

    The judge is described as naked in different ways than the others because he is different. McCarthy changes the sentence structure to subtly adhere to the significance of the Judge’s differences. The differences meaning his superiority of wisdom and knowledge in what has occurred and what will occur.

  11. As for chapter 10, the gang seems to be trying to escape some kind of fate. They are literally leaving place after place but they are looking for some kind of paradise. Perhaps they already live in an evil paradise?

  12. The reader is given hints of the Judge’s supernatural state as the gang manages to meet the Judge in the middle of the desert where they find him with nothing but gold, silver, a pistol, and a rifle called “Et In Arcadia Ego”. This phrase means even in paradise there is death. For the Judge, the battlefield of a desert is ironically paradise. Later on in the chapter, the Judge advises the gang to change course and head towards the mountains. The Judge’s deep knowledge of what the gang could find in the mountains leads the reader to believe that this gathering was fate and that the Judge is some supernatural entity.

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