Violence and the Weight of "Or" in Blood Meridian
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In this thesis, I demonstrate how moments of"or" persist throughout Cormac McCarthy's novel, Blood Meridian Or the Evening Redness in the West, and argue that these moments encourage a way of reading and understanding the novel from a suspended mental state of"unknowing." I analyze moments of"or" in specific narrative instances, and show how they manifest in diverse ways: through sublime similes, horrifyingly real violence, and ambiguous dialogue. Next, I contemplate the "or" as a quality transcending the story of the narrative and functioning at the structural levels of narration and form of the novel. Finally, I discuss the bizarrely detached nature of the novel's violence as an "or" in itself that urges us to reflect upon the historical telling of Western Expansion and our own reactions to the events we witness. Ultimately, the sense of"unknowing" fostered by the weight of"or" in Blood Meridian allows for a revolutionary new way of reading and understanding this highly controversial and much debated text.