Half way through this.
Really enjoying it in parts. Also getting a little lost here and there. Who broke the little boys neck in the night? And why?
Also anything else I may have missed?
nah. he's just a really fucked up human being. he explains more about himself when it gets to the late middle. starts preaching about who man's role in the universe is and how the whole gang is justified for what they're doing.
I think he's bigger than Satan. I think he's the personification of warfare - someone really big, intelligent, strong enough, and cruel enough to win any fight.
OP, don't worry about missing the little details. I first read Blood Meridian in college years ago but I don't feel like I'm done with the book if you know what I mean. I still think about it from time to time.
He's most likely meant to be a gnostic archon. Gnosticism is an archaic religion that was still practiced at the time of Blood Meridian, and McCarthy makes repeated references to Gnosticism throughout the book. Archons are demigods who trapped the human spirit in an evil, physical realm which they created. The Archons strive to prevent humans from transcending this world by withholding knowledge from them. That's why the judge collects and destroys knowledge, and encourages the gang to partake in more and more bloodshed. There's a lot more connections than that, but I don't want to post a wall of text.
>numerical estimations in the book often show up as "seven or eight", "seven, eight", etc.
>in Gnosticism, the seventh realm in the cosmological spheres is that of the corrupted demiurge and his archons, while the eighth (7+1), super-celestial realm is home to God/the One
>in a scene subtitled "The ogdoad" (a Gnostic term for the eighth/God's realm), the Judge kicks away one of eight skulls in a ring, reducing them to seven
>the Judge is 7 ft. tall
>mfw the Man and the Judge have their final confrontation in the year 1878
I want to get that passage tattoed on my skin
The Judge's character has allusions to a whole lot of different mythological and literary bringers of disquiet. The part at the end where he dances and plays the flute at the end is very reminiscent of a number of Hindu figures, for example. He's not a direct representation of any of the figures he alludes to, he's another version of the literary archetype.
I've got a whole lot of ideas about how the kid reflects the reader in blood meridian and how the book is supposed to represent a bildungsroman for the reader rather than the character, but I'm too much of a greasy philistine to fully understand what's going on.
I agree completely, and have thought about this before. The book sets you up for a moral confrontation between the Kid and the Judge. We don't really ever know what the Kid is thinking until he speaks with the Judge at the end, and courageously argues against his nihilistic philosophy. The Judge killing him is the "loss of innocence" moment, when the reader realizes that nobody is safe from the Judge.
This could be a good essay
I always found the Judge to be more compelling when done away with the gnostic subtext. What if he is a man? He says it himself, he is a suzerain. A ruler when there are other rulers. He is not unique. There are more like him. There always were, and there always will be. He will never die, he will never die...
Threads like this make me want to make a good version of the /lit/ wiki. Like, one that archives particularly good analyses from anons and actually says something insightful about the various works we discuss.
Well, I think the point is that he only has power when people (or any creature) participate in his game. In the Gnostic sense, their constant desiring perpetuates the system of war and suffering which entraps them. He feeds off Glanton's pretentions to superiority for example, but the Kid resists him by preferring not to play. By fighting him, as if he were any other villain, you only feed right into his game. This is why it's important that the Kid refuses to exploit the chance to take cheap shots at him when given. He is inherently embodied in all living things, he's not just some particularly evil person or the potential for it in us.
I think the Judge wanted the Kid to be a loyal disciple, in a kind of father-son relationship. He didn't want to simply kill him immediately for being rebellious, because he recognized some potential for strength, to be played out in the game. Being the Judge's son-figure, killing him by his own hands would also violate the whole cyclical patrimonial struggle fundamental to nature and the Judge's game. He wanted the Kid to shoot at him in the desert, as an expression of willing participation in this struggle. However, my interpretation is that when the Man killed Elrod, he violated the cycle by euthanizing his own son-figure (with a kind of regretful mercy), and this was a final, damning affront to the Judge. I would say the Man won, in some way, by forcing the Judge to finally acknowledge and accept the Man's stubborn resistance, that the Man's will couldn't be twisted, and so the Judge commits the same counter-cyclical filicide, killing his son-figure. The Judge is judge of adherence to his game, and here he was forced to recognize some will outside his own, outside the game.
I would say because in the end, he's a liar with pretensions to superiority that surpass anyone else's. He's an insane, paranoid infant. There are moments in the book where you perhaps see him frustrated and almost confused. I feel he senses something outside his will, the "divine spark" if you like, beyond his grasp, but seeks to deny and eradicate it. He'll always resume the same false air of supreme confidence and insist on his all-embracing eternity, because that's his nature.
just finished it and I gotta say, very cool book. reading thru this thread it seems that I missed a bunch of little details, but I enjoyed the imagery of the book and the writing was beautiful. I'm excited to reread it come summer time.
>dat final scene
Reading this too for the first time. It's great, etc.
How do you read the chapter heading brief (or whateverthefuck that's called at the beginning of each chapter)? I try to skip it, it ruins the suspense of the chapter. But it's intentional, of course, so should I read that shit or not?
He is the lacanian notion of the capital Other, the terrifying manifestation of the subconcious. He does not pertend his actions as the work of God and he never justifies it. His actions don't require explanation because his motivations do not get processed in the symbolic and imaginary, they constitute directly in the real
The book is about human nature and the judge is a literal vessel for the most savage and primal desires one can have
What immediately comes to mind is his showdown in the desert with the Kid and Tobin, when he starts citing legal cases and property laws against the Kid, like he's shortcircuited or something. And the entire jail scene following this, where his accusatory tone seemed paranoid. He's obviously a megalomanic throughout the story and sometimes it comes off as insecure. Another example might be when he's questioning the Kid and Toadvine about the veteran/Grannyrat's disappearance.