Blood Meridian Analysis

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The excerpt from Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy is a description of a brutalized horse and how its death came to be. Although the idea seems simple at first, McCarthy takes the extra step of describing the scene more effectively, using precision only where it is required. McCarthy is selective with his words in the sense that he chooses to use words that connote desperation for survival. There is a feeling of unease when reading the passage because of his diction. The structure of the passage is relatively uncomplicated, but becomes much fuller with careful analysis. McCarthy uses a wide range of literary features, which contributes to the experience of the reader. McCarthy’s thorough selection of words enhances the passage. There is an evident pattern in the words, all of which suggest violence and also a struggling for life. The first of these words are ‘foul’ and ‘ragged’. These words are sensory words since they immediately make contact with the reader’s senses. ‘Foul’ is a smell and ‘ragged’ is an appearance. McCarthy will use sensory language more often as the passage progresses. The subsequent line has a few more examples: “They had been making forays at night up the arroyo for wood and water and they had been feeding off a dead mule that lay gutted and stinking in the far corner of the yard.” They had been attacking at night for resources and had been eating a dead mule, which comes back to the theme of survival. Also note that water, wood, and food are three essential elements of survival, again linking to a struggle for life. Words such as ‘enormously swollen’ and ‘grotesque’ add to the gruesome imagery. The entire line, “It had been bitten on the nose…in a horror of agony…in the throttled pipes of its throat” provides a horrific description of the animal. With the use of words such as ‘eyes bulged out’, ‘a horror of agony’, drooling’, and ‘breath
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