38 comments on “Ch. 13 Discussion

  1. “They moved to the public baths where they descended one by one into the waters, each more pale than the one before and all tattooed, branded, sutured, the great puckered scars inaugurated God knows where by what barbarous surgeons across chests and abdomens like the tracks of gigantic millipedes, some deformed, missing fingers, eyes, their foreheads stamped with letters and numbers as if they were articles requiring inventory.” Pg. 174

    I want to pose the question, what is the significance of this bathing scene? Could it symbolize a spiritual cleansing or a grand realization?

    “This Angel Trias who was governer had been sent abroad as a young man for his education and was widely read in the classics and was a student of languages.” Pg. 175

    Can we assert the significance of Trias’s character as a FOIL to the Judge?

    • I see this bathing scene as an exposé of their evil characteristics. Since they have been hiding behind their clothes you don’t see their cruel past, and by showing the scars it emphasizes how violent and horrid their lives are.

      • I agree. I don’t think that the bathing scene necessarily is a spiritual cleansing, as has been said before. I think it’s more of a revelation and their cruel self-identity really shows.. some people can’t change.

    • The bathing scene is very interesting. It proves that, by trying to become clean, the gang makes the bath very dirty with each members’ blood and filth. I believe that is one of the most significant parts of the bathing scene. Additionally, I agree with Anna. They are truly exposed in this bath, and the readers see how brutal of a life they have lived by viewing their scars and wounds. It is interesting how they are willing to appreciate the hospitality of the locals when normally they “don’t leave a dog alive if they can help it”.

    • I believe the bathing scene could symbolize a spiritual cleansing. By stating that “the great puckered scars inaugurated God knows where by what barbarous surgeons across chests and abdomens like tracks of gigantic millipedes….”(174), the fact that God is even brought up brings a spiritual reality to the situation. The bath is a reward for murder so in that sense, it brings a devilish feel to the scene.

    • I believe that the bathing scene could be seen as a grand realization. I agree with Anna that by showing their scars that there is a realization that even when the damage can’t be seen, it is still there. This symbolizes maybe the psychological damage they could receive and how senseless the violence truly is when they are compared to articles requiring inventory; they are simply methods for destruction and vessels for violence.

  2. This chapter the group/ posse is now referred to as “Americans”. On page 174 the Judge is described getting undressed and getting into the water and he does this in a “petite” way, McCarthy also later describes Glanton’s child and wife later on in this chapter and uses very soft undertone with them. Why do you think there is a shift from the harshness in this chapter?

    • ^^^ the quote from 174 is ..could not take their eyes from the judge who had disrobed last of all and now walked the perimeter of the baths with a cigar in his mouth and a regal air, testing the waters with one toe, surprisingly petite”.. then later explains how “he shone like the moon so pale he was and nota hair to be seen anywhere upon that vast corpus”.

    • The shift away from harshness in tone seems to place emphasis on the shift towards more ruthlessly violent actions by the group. In ch. 13 they really begin to kill innocent Mexican civilians, as well as the group of Tiguas, and they take full advantage of the hospitality of the townspeople.

      • I think that also it adds a tinge of irony. At the end of the chapter, Glanton moves on to another city ignorant of the fact that there’s a huge bounty out on him; exponentially larger than any Indian. The shift in tone is kind of the storm before the calm.

      • I definitely agree with Dana and Aleah, I think the shift from the harshness shows that the group is kind of numb to all of the violence and they don’t really have any emotions towards it anymore. I think it is very ironic that as they are going on more violent killing sprees the tone has almost mellowed out.

      • I definitely agree with Aleah in the fact that addressing the more human aspects of the gang adds and element of irony. Throughout the whole book, we as readers are unable to attach to the characters as they show a lack of empathy themselves. However, with this shift the reader is almost compelled to feel something for Glanton, something I myself never expected to do.

  3. “They moved to the public baths where they descended one by one into the waters, each more pale than the one before and all tattooed, branded, sutured, the great puckered scars inaugurated God knows where by what barbarous surgeons across chests and abdomens like the tracks of gigantic millipedes….” Pg. 174

    I wanted to pose the question: what is the significance of this bathing scene? Could it symbolize a spiritual or moral cleansing?

    “This Angel Trias who was a governer had been sent abroad as a young man for his education and was widely read in the classics and was a student of languages.” Pg. 175

    What is the significance of Trias’s character as a FOIL to the judge?

    • I think that the introduction of Trias does put an interesting twist on things. So far, the judge has been the only educated character in the book, and most of the gang has followed him without question. Bringing in another character who is well educated might change things up a little, and I think it will be interesting to see how the gang reacts to Trias compared to the judge.

      • I agree. I think that Trias can be seen as a competition and a test for the Judge’s character.

    • Like Mohamed said, I think it will be interesting to see the role Trias plays as another educated character. Thus far, the Judge is a sort of leader; the gang seems to trust him and follow his lead. Perhaps Trias will be less inclined to follow along.

  4. My first quote happened after the Glanton gang massacred the Tiguas and the book points out that the Tiguas are peaceful people

    “In the days to come, the frail black rebuses of blood in those sands would crack and break and drift away so that in the circuit of few suns all trace of the destruction of these people would be erased” (182)

    Is this quote simply stating the fact that all of the physical evidence will eventually fade, or does it have a deeper meaning?

    The context of my second quote is that the Americans are in Nacori in a cantina where a funeral procession passes by

    “As they did so a juggler leading a funeral rounded the corner into the street and taking a rocket from around several under his arm he held it to the cigarillo in his mouth and tossed it into the plaza where it exploded. The pack of dogs shied and scrambled back save for two who continued into the street. Around the Mexican horses tethered at the bar before the cantina several shot out a hind leg and the rest stepped about nervously. Glanton’s dog did not take his eyes from the men moving toward the door. None of the American horses even raised an ear” (185)

    Why do you think the rocket disturbed the Mexican horses but not the American?

    • With the question about the rocket disturbing the Mexican horses but not the American, I believe that since the American horses had been exposed to battles and around so much death and commotion that a rocket would not faze them anymore. A parallel can be drawn between the horses and the Americans themselves, the Americans seem indifferent and unfeeling about violence and killing. Their experiences have numbed them just as the horses were now unfazed by the rocket.

    • Concerning your first question, I have found that a repeated idea throughout the entire book is that all evidence of these massacres will be destroyed and people will forget about them very quickly. However, this is ironic because the book itself records all of these terrible things so that they will not be forgotten.

    • On Aleah’s first quote, i think this really does a great job on encasing the western culture. This summarizes almost the entirety of the book, that all these people are dying everyday and it is as normal as the sun ascending and descending. But the interesting part is, will it ever be forgotten, or erased? I think it will be forgotten once the violence has officially been seen as morally inept and wrong. But till this day, there will be no way of looking the other way because they are being too sucked up in the moment.

    • Concerning the second quote, it is interesting that the American horses did not flinch at all whatsoever. However I second the idea that it is because they are used to the noise. After all, the Glanton gang is constantly shooting and being shot at while on these horses so they have become hardened without choice. They are war horses.

  5. “A great lurching and stomping ensued while the judge, affable, gallant, squired first one and then another of the ladies through the steps with an easy niceness” (178).
    I think it is interesting that there is often dancing before violence occurs in the book. The judge is usually the one who excels at dancing. What do you think the dancing is supposed to show and why does it happen?

    “Patriotic toasts were drunk, the governor’s aides raising their glasses to Washington and Franklin and the Americans responding with yet more of their own country’s heroes, ignorant alike of diplomacy and any name at all from the pantheon of their sister republic” (176-177).
    Many killers in the book justify their violence through racism. For example, Captain White and Glanton make derogatory comments about the Mexicans and Indians. Why do you think the gang was referred to as “The Americans” in this chapter? What do you think this quote says about the attitudes of the Americans?

    • I think that the dancing kind of shows that the gang find killing/violence to be entertaining. Although we normally associate dancing with positive things, it can also be somewhat violent. In European folklore (I think) when mortals enter fairy rings, they are forced to dance “to the point of exhaustion, death, or madness.” Likewise, I think the dancing here can be related to a sense of losing oneself, or at least the human aspect of oneself.

      On the other hand, I think the second quote suggests that Americans are too quick, even eager to judge other races or ethnicities are being lesser, putting themselves in the hand of superiority and carry out the “White Man’s Burden” without considering the politics or situation of other cultures.

  6. Quotes:
    “… the scalps were being strung about the iron fretwork of the gazebo like decorations for some barbaric celebration. The severed heads had been raised on poles above the lamp standards where they now contemplated with their caved and pagan eyes the dry hides of their kinsmen and forebears strung across the stone facade of the cathedral and clacking lightly in the wind.” pg. 175 → end of paragraph “they would become mottled white and altogether leprous.”
    Definitely seeing some irony here in this quote. McCarthy is demonstrating how the people that want to kill these “savages” so badly for not being “civilized” like themselves, but in reality, the people killing the Indians are acting just as “uncivilized.” Further, it states that these people have caved, pagan eyes, yet these heads are placed along the facade of the cathedral and they clack in the wind.
    What message do you think McCarthy was trying to convey here?
    Maybe he was attempting to demonstrate the spirituality still held by the Indians despite being “pagan” and that placing them in front of the cathedral while they’re still moving in the wind justifies that statement — they’re still worthy people. Wind is regarded as spiritual movement, or sometimes a sign of the presence of God/Religion.

    2. pg. 174 “Citizens of both sexes withdrew along the walls and watched the water turn into a thin gruel of blood and filth and none could take their eyes from the judge who had disrobed last of all and now walked the perimeter of the baths with a cigar in his mouth and a regal air, testing the waters with one toe, surprisingly petite.”
    Here we see some more characterization of the judge – it’s indirect. Even people that have never seen him before automatically feel compelled to admire him. The citizens in the beginning of the chapter already treat the Glanton gang like kings, but the judge is different. Why do you think this is so? Is it making the judge a Christ-like figure?
    The toe of the judge is described as petite. What do you think the significance of this part of the sentence was? Does it change how we perceive the judge at all? It probably has to do with the fact that he is seen to be so grandiose and perfect that he would have no flaws about him, yet they found that his toe is small.

    • On Sheridan’s second quote and statement I definitely agree and I also find it ironic because so far the judge is presented as a man who is tough and he seems to be creepy and scary but when the author mention his petite toe its seen as kind of cute. makes me think of baby’s toe

  7. “They moved to the public baths where they descended one by one into the waters, each more pale than the one before and all tattooed, branded, sutured, the great puckered scars inaugurated God knows where by what barbarous surgeons across chests and abdomens like the tracks of gigantic millipedes, some deformed, missing fingers, eyes, their foreheads stamped with letters and numbers as if they were articles requiring inventory” (174). Could the bathing scene be seen as a spiritual cleansing? What did you take away from it? Was the purpose the the bath really to wash off all the blood and filth from their bodies or was it more to expose these characters pasts and all the violence and cruelty that comes with it?
    My response: When the characters are exposed, not only are their physical wounds and blood apparent, but so are their pasts, showing their dark character/soul, violent and all.

    “There were one hundred and twenty-eight scalps and eight heads and the governor’s lieutenant and his retinue came down into the courtyard to welcome them and admire their work” (174). When first reading this quote, I traced it back to chapter 12 and the quote, “there were upward of a thousand souls.” These two quotes truly exemplify violent and gruesome things, which are both dominant throughout the whole book.

    Something else that stood out to me was the scalp hunters and the way that they were such aimless killers, and how they seemed to go to war just to go to war; without any true reason. How can this be tied back to the discussions we have been having lately about war, violence, and whether or not it is justifiable?

    • In reply to the first question, in this book there are a lot of parts that involve water, which usually symbolizes rebirth and renewal. I think this is very contradictory in this book because there is hardly a change or a ‘renewal’ in any of the characters at any time. In the next chapter they are still killing puppies and beating up priests so I do not see a change. I think the purpose was to show how opposite they were from a rebirth. I also find the word ‘descended’ interesting because this is what is thought of when Jesus came down from heaven, not really getting into a bath.

  8. “Within a week of of their quitting the city there would be a price of eight thousand pesos posted for Glanton’s head.” (pg 193)

    Is this signifying a turn of events? Is justice going to be served to this demoralized group? Or specifically Glanton? Or is this just a random detail McCarthy wanted the reader to know?

    • Earlier on in the book, he was seen as a hero, where the villagers of a town gave them everything. But with your quote, it just shows that Glanton’s group just caused SO much destruction that he really did go from hero to enemy within just a few days.

    • This quote shows the way in which how you live your live that it can have an effect on the future. It is somewhat like if you give love you get love back. Glanton was been scalping, now is going to get scalped. I feel as though McCarthy gave this detail randomly but it has significance by foreshadowing what may end up happening to the gang.

    • I don’t think any detail in this book could be considered random, and that this is definitely a shift in the perception of Glanton in the novel. Like Juan said, it’s an obvious foreshadowing of Glanton’s eventual fate because in the end,what goes around comes around..

  9. “Toadvine and the kid conferred together and when they rode out at noon the day following they trotted their horses alongside bathcat. They rode in silence. Them sons of bitches aint botherin nobody, Toadvine said.” (pg. 181) Will this be a new beginning for The kid? Is he finally starting to gain morals? Will this mark a change for the rest of the story?

    • I think that since we never know what any of the characters feel or think, we can’t really know if the kid is developing morals. We don’t even know if he had any morals to begin with

  10. Since we don’t really know what any of the characters feel thoughtout the book, we can’t really say that The kid is finally gaining morals. He could be getting sick of all of the violence and just wants to get away from it. We can’t really know for sure.

  11. I agree with Mandi regarding the idea of dancing. The gang dances near almost every act of violence. Violence has become almost habitual to the gang as it is now a part of their daily lives. Violence is frowned down upon. The gang find a way to bring a sick joy to the gang themselves through the dancing. Maybe for some it helps them cope, others like the judge simply dance because they are genuine so happy that they have the opportunity to commit these crimes.

  12. The kid is a bit lost and he doesn’t know whether violence really is right or not. He lives as life comes to him and doesn’t take any real action, until he starts to help people. Is he doing this to test himself? To find our whether it’s really right or not? He’s never lived anything very different, maybe it’s happening now.

    • Yeah I agree. It’s like that rebellious phase teenagers go through then eventually realize is either stupid or not who they really are. And once he’s surrounded by people like him he realizes the real consequences of living the way he does.

  13. I don’t necessarily think that the kid is gaining morals, I think that he is just growing. Because he was never taught the difference between right and wrong he kind of has to learn on his own, though it is not easy because violence is all he has known. When you’ve experienced so much violence and that is all you’ve known, how could you know good and be good?

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