The nihilism embraced by the Judge is as outsized as his body. Certainly, it goes beyond anything found in modern English literature, and, arguably, ideologically goes beyond anything asserted by Nietzsche. This is not to say, however, that McCarthy does not find prompts in Shakespeare and Melville, and encouragement in the novels of Golding. The words “nothing,” a “waste,” a “void” occur singly or in combination throughout Blood Meridian as the truth of things, their “bone” as it were. And the savage landscapes of desert and plateau are covered in bones, which at once recalls Ezekiel’s plain of bones and the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe. The instinct of the outlaws is to cover these landscapes with blood and add to the mountain of bone. This is the world of the Judge, the one world of Nietzsche, transient, painful, violent, and without rhyme or reason.
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