Animals in the Fiction of Cormac McCarthy
About the Book
The works of Cormac McCarthy have been critically studied as literature of the South and of the Border Southwest. Largely ignored is the omnipresence and presentation of animals in McCarthy’s works. Yet the abundant representations of animals depict a part of the ceaseless battle for survival that is inherent in many of his writings.
McCarthy’s animals exist within the framework of a fictional natural world driven by biological determinism: Wild animals prey upon feral and domestic animals, horses exist as warriors, and the hunt is a ballet between man and hunting hound. Proximity to humans results in mistreatment and death, while distance results in survival and fitness.
McCarthy also utilizes animals as harbingers of specific events; for example, hogs are so frequently a precursor of human death that McCarthy’s narrators and characters wonder whether hogs are joined to the devil for evil purposes. The first chapter here examines animal presentations in The Stonemason, The Gardener’s Son and two short stories, “Bounty” and “The Dark Waters.” The following nine chapters focus on one text, one type of animal—feline, swine, bovine, bird and bat, canine, equine, lupine, and hound—and one particular thesis. Each chapter also briefly examines the specific animal as it exists in other McCarthy works.
About the Author(s)
Wallis R. Sanborn, III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
Table of Contents
1. Animals and Death in The Gardener’s Son, The Stonemason, “Bounty,” and “The Dark Waters” 15
2. Feline Hierarchy in The Orchard Keeper 27
3. Swine as Harbingers of Human Death in Outer Dark 46
4. Bovines and Levity in Child of God 65
5. Birds and Bats in Suttree 83
6. Canine Hierarchy in Blood Meridian 98
7. Horses as Warriors in All the Pretty Horses 115
8. Wolves as Metaphor in The Crossing 131
9. The Hunt as Ballet in Cities of the Plain 149
10. Following Animal Precedent in No Country for Old Men 168
11. Conclusion 174