Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West

Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West Imagery

The Bar in Bexar (Aural Imagery)

"A great wooden clicking in the silence. A clicking of glasses all down the bar. Then the scuffling of chairs pushed back by the players at the wall" (25). 

Here, McCarthy employs aural imagery to flesh out the environment at the bar in Bexar. It functions to support the tension that hangs in the air after the bartender has refused to pay the kid as he promised; this is the calm before the storm. Moments later, the kid attacks the bartender and kills him with a bottle to the head. 


Evening in Laredito (Visual, Aural, and Olfactory Imagery)

"Already it is twilight down in the Laredito. Bats fly forth from their roostings in courthouse and tower and circle the quarter. The air is full of the smell of burning charcoal. Children and dogs squat by the mud stoops and gamecocks flap and settle in the branches of the fruit trees. They go afoot, these comrades, along a bare adobe wall. Band music carries dimly from the square. They pass a watercart in the street and they pass a hole in the wall where by the light of a small forgefire an old man beats out shapes of metal. They pass in a doorway a young girl whose beauty becomes the flowers about" (39). 

There are many passages filled with different kinds of imagery throughout Blood Meridian. This vivid selection is from the beginning of the kid's journey with Captain White's gang. McCarthy draws his reader into each new location, invoking specific sounds, smells, and images that the kid and his comrades hear, smell, and observe as they ride through. 

Riding into Chihuahua

"They passed old alms-seekers by the church door with their seamy palms outheld and maimed beggars sad-eyed in rags and children asleep in the shadows with flies walking their dreamless faces. Dark coppers in a clackdish, the shriveled eyes of the blind. Scribes crouched by the steps with their quills and inkpots and bowls of sand and lepers moaning through the streets and naked dogs that seemed composed of bone entirely and vendors of tamales and old women with faces dark and harrowed as the land squatting in gutters over charcoal fires where blackened strips of anonymous meat sizzled and spat" (73).

Here, like in the previous example, McCarthy employs various forms of imagery to paint a picture of Chihuahua. At this point, the kid is being taken to prison after Apaches massacre Captain White's gang. These images create an environment of desperation and pain; as Chihuahua is war-torn. This scene, however, is in stark contrast to the kid's return to Chihuahua with Glanton's gang later in the novel. In that passage, the kid and his scalp hunting comrades are treated to a feast and loaded up with gold and booze. 

The Predawn Dark (Aural Imagery)

"In the predawn dark the sounds about describe the scene to come. The first cries of birds in the trees along the river and the clink of harness and the snuffle of horses and the gentle sound of their cropping. In the darkened village roosters have begun" (104). 

Using passages like this, McCarthy expertly crafts an environment that feels alive even after his specific characters have passed through it. This passage reminds the reader that the kid and his companions are only a small part of the vast natural world that inhabits the frontier.