Journey through Hell in Blood Meridian
Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian details what can only be described as the kid's journey through hell. Throughout the novel McCarthy gives the reader the sensation of being in hell. The is brutal and unforgiving physical setting adds a hellish atmosphere in which there is no evidence of any morals or sympathy for the innocent. Judge Holden is even described in terms reminiscent of the devil. All of these factors lead the reader to compare the kid's journey through the Mexican-American border country with a descent into hell.
Blood Meridian is set in a place and time period where there was little societal structure and a lot of racial hatred. The very land that the kid travels is full of dirty saloons and people in poverty. As McCarthy writes, "bone palings ruled the small and dusty purlieus here and death seemed the most prevalent feature of the landscape" (48). The country is definitely not travel-friendly. There is an added element of godlessness in the kid's journey. When the kid signs up with a group of renegade nationalists, the captain aptly says, "hell, there's no God in Mexico" (34). From the very beginning of the novel the kid is on the run. There is absolutely no structure to his existence, and every path he follows only leads to more violence and corruption.
Throughout Blood Meridian there is an appalling lack of morals and concern for the innocent. When the kid and Glanton's gang enter the different villages along their way, they take every opportunity to plunder, rape, and destroy. They are generally met with some measure of respect, and they leave each town virtually in ruin. The violence McCarthy describes concerning children is perhaps his most powerful tool. McCarthy uses the deaths of so many innocent children to shock the reader and to further show the cruelty and harsh environment of the time. McCarthy relates in shocking detail the death of two infants:
One of the Delawares emerged from the smoke with a naked infant dangling in each hand and squatted at a ring of midden stones...