Happy Birthday, Cormac McCarthy

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  • 20 Jul 2016 at 2:29 pm #8459


    Born on July 20, 1933, Cormac McCarthy turns 83 years old today.

    20 Jul 2016 at 4:46 pm #8460


    It is McCarthy’s next birthday at 84, or at the end of that age (i.e., just as he turns 85), that might have superstitious/spiritual significance to him, according to Ownby’s (and McCarthy’s?) belief/theory of the seventh seven, though, as Ownby explains, it is really a complete cycle not of 7 years, but of 14 years: 7 good years plus 7 bad years.

    Hence, the age chart looks like this:
    1st seven: 0 (birth) to 14
    2nd seven: 14 to 28
    3rd seven: 28 to 42
    4th seven: 42 to 56
    5th seven: 56 to 70
    6th seven: 70 to 84
    7th seven: 84 to 98

    In 1941, Ownby is 84 (or 85), and so he is just beginning his seventh seven. Seven is a significant number in “The Orchard Keeper”, as I have often repeated, and in particular the number 21 (=3×7; 3 is significant across many of his other novels, but 7 is rather uniquely significant to this novel), especially in regard to age. The action of the novel takes place 1933/34, 1940/41, and 1948, seven years apart, and in these timeframes the ages of John Wesley, Sylder, Ownby, and Mildred are divisible by 7 (if death=rebirth resets the clock, then Rattner too, as 0 is divisible by 7). At 21, Sylder kills Rattner. At 21, Mildred gives birth to John Wesley. At 21, John Wesley makes a return visit to his mother’s grave, and his actions curiously echo Rattner’s on his deathday. (When Ownby was 21, the kid/man encounters Holden at the Bee Hive.)

    21 Jul 2016 at 12:11 am #8461


    [cough]… the man basically lives at a science institut… I can well imagine what he would have to say on such ‘theories’…

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