They rode on. The horses trudged sullenly the alien ground and the round earth rolled beneath them silently milling the greater void wherein they were contained. In the neuter austerity of that terrain all phenomena were bequeathed a strange equality and no one thing nor spider nor stone nor blade of grass could put forth claim to precedence. The very clarity of these articles belied their familiarity, for the eye predicates the whole on some feature or part and here was nothing more luminous than another and nothing more enshadowed and in the optical democracy of such landscapes all preference is made whimsical and a man and a rock become endowed with unguessed kinships. (247) In “’The Very Life of the Darkness’: A Reading of Blood Meridian”, Steven Shaviro offers a general explanation of this leveling of hierarchies: “There is no interiority, no intentionality and no transcendence. The radical epistemology of Blood Meridian subverts all dualisms of subject and object, inside and outside, will and representation or being and interpretation” (148). David Holloway’s The Late Modernism of CormacMcCarthy extends this “strange equality” to the ultra economic goals underlying the riders’ actions, the fruits, as it were, of the scalping gang’s labors:
When it comes to people in the novel exhibiting rational behaviour, the most rational human beings in the novel are arguably the cannibals, who are ensuring their own survival by enslaving others. In this case acting in a rational manner certainly does not appear as a trait of human exceptionality as much as it does as a convenient excuse to justify the exploitation of others. On the other hand, the man, who is the closest thing to a hero in the novel is implied to be a doctor, or perhaps a scientist based on some of the things he says, most notably when he threatens a man by explaining to him how he would not hear the gunshot before the bullet hit his brain because bullets travel faster than sound, and as such he would no longer have “a frontal lobe and things with names like colliculus and temporal gyrus” (64) to process hearing with. Yet he never exhibits any knowledge above the ordinary, and most of his actions seem guided by survival instinct more than anything, showing that scientific knowledge in particular is not all that useful with no society to apply said knowledge in. This also points to rationalist attitudes being primarily a product of the surrounding culture, rather than some inherent quality of human beings: as with “The frailty of everything revealed at last” (28), humans become just another species of animals surviving primarily on instincts – which is certainly not a novel sentiment to McCarthy, whose works often resonate with such ethos of literary naturalism.
Although the image of the wasteland is one McCarthy often employed in his previous novels, it is “reasserted more powerfully than ever before” in The Road, perhaps to suggest a human-caused catastrophe (Cant 269). The wasteland, constantly described though images of ash, death, and erosion of once-familiar things, appears early in the text: “The city was mostly burned. No sign of life. Cars in the street caked with ash, everything covered with ash and dust. Fossil tracks in the tried sludge. A corpse in a doorway dried to leather. Grimacing at the day” (12). The Road‟s reference to some version of a nuclear holocaust offers a startling realization in its preservation of some humans, including the protagonists. Just as Dante feels unworthy in his exclusive quest of the underworld, the man must wonder why he roams the earth while animals and even nature have been wiped out. The human beings‟ susceptibility to radiation or other effects of the “event” that killed insects, rodents, and shrubs, might cause them to contemplate why the universe essentially euthanized animals and most of nature at the “end of the world” but left man to wander in the absence of any provisional necessities. According to Cant, this also contradicts the Myth of American Exceptionalism because it points to the insignificance of the human/American lives of the protagonists (Cant 269). If the elusive event killed off most people and most creatures, those who were spared might not only feel survivors‟ guilt, but they may paradoxically feel cosmically insignificant and powerless, which illustrates a common McCarthy theme.
world. Till he was old” (264). McCarthy does not dwell on the passage of time, not allowing it to affect the overall shape of the novel, as it is immaterial to the journey at the center of the characters’ existence. The major changes in his characters’ worldviews are their realizations that the events of the world and their own existences are not foreseeable but are full of uncertainty, contingency, “congealed suddenlys,” as Bakhtin writes. As an old man, Billy’s hands manifest the changes wrought on both his body and his mind, as the narrator describes in a brief tableau, “Gnarled, ropescarred, speckled . . . . the ropey veins that bound [his hands] to his heart. There was map enough for men to read. There God’s plenty of signs and wonders to make a landscape. To make a world” (CP 291). McCarthy takes his protagonist beyond the adventure-time that he functions in for most of the trilogy by noting the effects that it has on the body when the individual moves out of that “empty time.” Time, in this manifestation, has turned the physical features of the man into a personal landscape, reflective of his interaction with the world. Adventure-time, as McCarthy translates it, allows his protagonists to explore the chance interruptions of their lives in an unchanging landscape though eventually they move beyond this chronotope into a tentative awareness of the unseen forces that influence their lives. They are descendants of the ancient Greek heroes, stoic men on epic journeys, though the postmodern heroes seem ultimately more human, their impulses towards self-awareness, doubt, moral uncertainty serving as the components of their isolation.
forced to negotiate the earth without a moral compass. The man’s ill-fated attempt to escape the consequences of his actions (or inaction) evokes a scene from McCarthy’s second novel, Outer Dark, in which the protagonist Culla Holme attempts to abandon a baby born from his incestuous relationship with his sister. Holme takes the child deep into the woods and leaves it there to die, but after stumbling through the trees in the darkness, he finds himself back where he started, confronted by his offspring, the irrefutable proof of his deeds (McCarthy, Outer Dark 5-18). 5 McCarthy’s men flee from the consequences of
The imagery of the falcon rests on the specific diction of “keel,” a nautical term, “gangly” and “blowsy.” The words become assertive now that the actual falcon, and all things that fly through the sky, have been erased. It is through these details that McCarthy becomes “a master of such minute calculations, his word choice, not only particular in meaning but particular in sound as well, bringing attention to the individual properties of words and then drawing them into a peculiar music” (81). The nautical descriptions correspond with the theme of the text which finds nature shipwrecked and completely abandoned, just like the crane that trails “its plumage in the autumn air.”
Lee Clark Michell writes in his essay “ ‘ Make It Like Talk That You Imagine’: The Mystery of Language in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road” that this “dystopian novel registers the end of a culture and through its varying linguistic register becomes a testament to cultural renewal itself “(Mitchell 205). Michell and the other critics mentioned later in this study, have taken language as the starting point for their study although from different standpoints. Michell states that The Road is not “a mere story of survival but a complex meditation on the crossroads of past and present, on the relation between language and experience, and some kind of a compromise between narrative and the tradition of literary expression”. According to Michell there is an effort to keep the language alive by the father, as when he tells his son long forgotten things from the past to make them alive for him (207). He finds the value of The Road in its insistence that words themselves, as part of a continuing domestic dialog as well as an enduring cultural legacy, are a necessary but not sufficient stay against dissolution when everything is lost (207). Michell presents, as an example, a fragment of The Road where the father is thinking of the world irrevocably gone, and not only the world but the word as well as he tries to think of something to say and cannot (208). Manuel Broncano, on the other hand, when referring to the same passage suggests that what McCarthy does is to construct a kind of “neologism” as a new interpretation to existing words so to link the vanishing world to a grammatical construction that can be parsed into basic units, these units being less every day (Broncano 133).
Fish, R, Sanders, C, Adams, R et al. (8 more authors) (2018) A core outcome set for clinical trials of chemoradiotherapy interventions for anal cancer (CORMAC): a patient and health-care professional consensus. Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology, 3 (12). pp. 865-873. ISSN 2468-1253
THE NEXT KOINONIA TEAM MEETING will be Sunday, January 19 at 4pm in our Parish Oﬃce Conference Room. Our Koinonia Retreat is set for February 21, 22 & 23, 2020. Those on our Koinonia Core Team thus far are: Barb Schnapf , Lay Leader; Marsha Segebarth, Assistant Lay Leader; Fr. Carl McCarthy, Spiritual Director and Pa y Brown, Resource Director. If you have made a Cursillo, TEC, Lazarus Retreat, Emmaus Walk, or a Great Banquet and would like to be a part of our 2020 Koinonia Team, then please reach out to one of those named above, and you will be warmly welcomed.
were intense and new precedents in nursing were set. 4 Three types of hospitals were established in the South African conflict, the 'field' (rarely staffed by nurses), the 'stationary' and the 'general base'. 5 Casualties were transported from the initial field hospitals to the marginally better equipped and staffed stationary and general base hospitals, and for the first time nurses worked on the hospital trains that transported casualties to the various hospitals. 4 The British Army Nursing Service in the South African War shaped a new model for nursing care during war; developments were made in the use of anaesthetics and drugs, in administration, including the distribution of medical equipment, greater efficiency in evacuation and treatment of casualties; improved standards of hygiene, and an emphasis on the use of highly trained nursing staff. 6 McCarthy undoubtedly drew much military nursing knowledge from her experience in South Africa. On returning to Britain after the South African War, McCarthy worked as matron in Aldershot, Netley and Millbank military hospitals in England, and in 1910 was appointed Principal Matron at the British War Office. 2 In four years’ time her role as Principal Matron would be one of the most important in army nursing history.