Displaced Arachnid in Blood Meridian

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  • 11 May 2012 at 8:02 pm #1195

    Anonymous

    I am reading in the Picador, 2011 edition, at the passage in chapter 15 which begins “It was a lone tree burning in the desert.” About halfway through the second sentence it says, “…lesser auxiliaries routed forth into the inordinate day…tarantulas and solpugas and vinegarroons and the vicious mygale spiders…” (226-227).

    I was wondering if anyone noticed (I’m sure many have) that the mygale does not live in the desert? The mygale supposedly dehydrates easily. Do you think this was just a mistake?

    Does anyone know of any other instances like this in Blood Meridian?


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    14 May 2012 at 8:15 am #1226

    cantona
    Member

    Adam,

    That’s an interesting observation. As I know nothing about spiders, cept the implement used for the game of pool, I’m not qualified to say whether it’s a mistake or no. However, McCarthy seems to like the idea of the aberrant, the incongruous, the anachronistic, the downright not right, and so on, so it might be a deliberate mistake. Think of the morel mushrooms in The Road, the iron in the tree in The Orchard Keeper, and we can see that the man has a surrealist heart tick-tocking, or tock-ticking, away somewhere.


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    14 May 2012 at 8:22 am #1227

    cantona
    Member

    Also, your question about BM – well, in my opinion, that particular book is surrealism writ large.


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    14 May 2012 at 9:34 am #1237

    peterfranz
    Member

    Hmmm. Doesn’t the tree have something to do with it? Presumably, from the spider’s rather narrow perspective the tree (which must have access to moisture) is as good a garden (where it does live) as it is likely to find in a place as inhospitable as McCarthy’s novel. Hitched a ride on someone’s horse p’raps and jumped ship (ship?) at the first opportunity. Whatever, we need to know.

    pf


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    14 May 2012 at 11:08 am #1238

    Anonymous

    Speaking of surrealism and the spider in question, there’s a great scene in Luis Bunuel’s Phantom of Liberty (1974) where a father schools his arachnophiliac daughter on the mygale.


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    14 May 2012 at 8:42 pm #1248

    Glass
    Member

    “Ah, there must be terrible queer creatures at the latter end of the world.” (Joyce, Portrait)


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    15 May 2012 at 10:37 am #1253

    Anonymous

    The tree definitely has something to do with it. To me this passage really reads like a fairytale, and is definitely surreal. Considering that the mygale desiccates so easily it is interesting that a burning tree would attract it. This reminds of “the fire” from The Road.

    Also, has anyone read Flaubert’s short story “The Legend of Saint Julian?” There is a scene where he is raging through a forest killing any animal he sees, even going after birds, and eventually all the animals of the forest surround him and plead for him to stop, but he kills them anyway. It’s not exactly parallel to the scene in Blood Meridian but I keep going back to it for some reason.

    Just now another odd comparison comes to mind. The scene from Blood Meridian actually more closely resembles a scene from Snow White. The Disney cartoon that is. I haven’t read the actual fairy tale myself.


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    15 May 2012 at 10:43 am #1254

    Anonymous

    I think if the Judge had been the one at the tree with all of those animals around him he would have killed them just as Julian did.


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    15 May 2012 at 9:23 pm #1257

    Glass
    Member

    Those are interesting observations, Adam, and I like your connection between this scene and The Road. I see it anticipating the ending of The Crossing, an ancient echo of the atomic blast that ends that novel. Many connections between the scenes. I especially like the “stylus” of BM connecting to the “stenciled” in The Crossing. Lady finger dipped in moonlight, as the Dead song goes.

    Your pointing out that the mygale dessicates easily is super interesting and made me wonder if this obliquely, or perhaps substantially, connects to the eldress in the rocks on p. 315, she being nothing but a dried shell. Interestingly, the word “Jeda” from the burning bush scene in BM means Grandmother in Arabic (Jeddah) and I believe the kid calls the eldress “grandmother” in Spanish (Abuelita). Grandmother Eve’s Tomb in Jeddah, the eldress in her rocky niche.

    The lizards who shoot blood out of their eyes (desert basilisks) connect to the beheading of White Jackson by Black Jackson (and other arterial explosions in McCarthy) and it was interesting to find some support of this notion after I Googled basilisks and clicked through a few links and found the beheading scene listed in a Wiki reference. It’s kind of neat to have a BM scene show up while doing inquiries into lizards from a scene separate from the one you are pursuing but having it cross your mind while doing the work.

    Anyway, thanks for opening up this part of the book for me


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