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27 Sep 2015 at 6:33 pm #7633
Pretty sure we’re talking to Monahan.
@monahan: Thanks so much for lending your time to answer some questions. I’d love to discuss the ending of Blood Meridian.
The first ten-eleven times I read the novel I never questioned who came out of those jakes. But when I read it again earlier this year, I felt that ambiguity you were talking about, and considered (at least) two possible interpretations.
Reading one: Perhaps neither kid nor judge come out of the jakes alive. They destroy each other, as was foretold. Who is it dancing and fiddling at the end? It’s merely the spirit of the judge presiding over the evening’s festivities, while the grotesques grin hideously over their canted instruments. He says that he will never die, and the judge (the devil) never will, but perhaps the body of Judge Holden of Texas lies in the mud at the bottom of those jakes, like the broken avatar of some fallen demi-god of war.
Reading two: Fort Griffin. That entire final scene. The judge isn’t really there at all, rather it is the shade of the judge, come down to hell to visit and converse with the pilgrim. He is sitting among, but apart from, all manner of people in the saloon who notice him not. He smiles as soon as the kid comes in as if he’s been waiting for him. And I’ve always wondered what this exchange meant:
You ain’t nothing.
You speak truer than you know.
During that final conversation the judge (his shade) asks the kid at length why he is here, asks why he himself is here, when everyone else has gone under, been relegated to the past. The judge slowly reveals why he is here: Drink up, drink up. This night thy soul made be required of thee. So perhaps it is only the kid’s remains that the men witness when they open the toilet door.
I kinda like the second interpretation. It fits with the surrealness of everything during the last third of the novel following the massacre of Glanton and the gang by the Yumas. What do you reckon? Could you, perhaps, say a few words about your what you were thinking when you came to write the ending for your own screenplay? (I join Rick in hoping that we might one day get to read it). Thanks.
adrianbQuote03 Oct 2015 at 2:27 am #7648
monahanMember03 Oct 2015 at 11:21 am #7651
I saw your post right after you posted it and before you edited it. I am, uh, sorry that I intruded. I’m deleting my posts, no hard feelings. Please continue to discuss.
Richard L.Quote30 Nov 2015 at 3:50 pm #7903
Mr. Monahan, sincerest apologies if the attached script is not yours. Your posts seem ambiguous as to whether or not you’ve looked at the attached script, though. In addition, your descriptions of your own screenplay (the Kid killing his father, for example) line up with the one I’ve posted. Once again, if I was mistaken about the posted script’s authorship, I apologize.
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