The Western fiction of Cormac McCarthy



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Texas Tech University


The Uterary violence of Cormac McCarthy emerges from the American frontier in his three most recent novels. Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West. All the Pretty Horses, and The Crossing, which my thesis addresses through their common geographic settings, similarities in protagonists, and presence of recurring motife. The three leitmotife, the element of order, horses, and bones, afford an examination of the presence of foreign cultures on the American frontier, the violence embedded within them, and the devastation wrought by their influence. McCarthy focuses the violent energy of these cultures in metaphoric centers which not only serve as catalysts to develop themes, but also offer a deeper reading of the text. My thesis is that this subtextual reading reveals the protagonists as representatives of the burgeoning American frontier culture as it estabhshes a political relationship with hs neighbor, Mexico. Although McCarthy presents these protagonists with the heinous frontier violence, he also suggests that the future may hold the possibility of a new beginning.