Cormac McCarthy's Grotesque Allegory in "Blood Meridian"

Manuel Broncano Rodríguez

Abstract


Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985) is one of the major literary works of the twentieth-century. It is an opaque text whose interpretation poses great challenges to the critic. McCarthy deploys a complex narrative strategy which revisits the literary tradition, both American and European, in a collage of genres and modes, from the Puritan sermon to the picaresque, in which the grotesque plays a central role. One of the most controversial aspects of the novel is its religious scope, and criticism seems to be divided between those who find in the novel a theological dimension and those who reject such approach, on the grounds that the nihilist discourse is incompatible with any religious message. This essay argues that McCarthy has consciously constructed, or rather deconstructed, an allegorical narrative whose ultimate aim is to subvert the allegory, with its pattern of temptation-resistance and eventual salvation, into a story of irremediable failure.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18172/jes.119

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© Universidad de La Rioja, 2013

ISSN 1576-6357

EISSN 1695-4300