What does the brook trout represent?
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By this point in thenovel we are so used to death, decay, and viloence. Then McCarthy gives us a beautiful image of nature,
Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.
Although he stipulates that this memory is from the past, we can't help feeling that, just maybe, there might be a traut somewhere in some mountain stream still swimming. This is as hopeful as McCarthy ever gets but at least its something.