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"Anything Can Be an Instrument": Misuse Value and Rugged Consumerism in Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men

"Anything Can Be an Instrument": Misuse Value and Rugged Consumerism in Cormac McCarthy's No... R AY M O N D M A L E W I T Z he creative relationship between men and the manmade objects that populate their worlds grounds the aesthetic project of Cormac McCarthy's Western novels. In The Crossing, for example, the muzzle that Billy Parham fashions from a paloverde tree and rope serves as the material intermediary between Parham and the she-wolf that he traps, enabling a communion of sorts between the young boy and the last vestiges of a disappearing wild. John Grady Cole, the romantic hero of All the Pretty Horses, recalls his grandfather's stories of Native Americans as he gazes upon telegraph poles early in the novel. In their ongoing attempts to disrupt communication between white settlers, "the Comanche would cut the wires and splice them back with horse-hair" (11), a symbolic triumph of the improvisational over the technological that colors Cole's subsequent journey through the surveyed and fenced enclosures of the Western desert. Along similar lines, in Blood Meridian, Judge Holden establishes his status as the "suzerain" of nature (198) through his interactions with objects--the chief example being his creation of gunpowder from urine and volcanic sulfur. Within McCarthy's nostalgic novels, these instances http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

"Anything Can Be an Instrument": Misuse Value and Rugged Consumerism in Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men

Contemporary Literature , Volume 50 (4) – Jun 13, 2009

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University of Wisconsin Press
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Abstract

R AY M O N D M A L E W I T Z he creative relationship between men and the manmade objects that populate their worlds grounds the aesthetic project of Cormac McCarthy's Western novels. In The Crossing, for example, the muzzle that Billy Parham fashions from a paloverde tree and rope serves as the material intermediary between Parham and the she-wolf that he traps, enabling a communion of sorts between the young boy and the last vestiges of a disappearing wild. John Grady Cole, the romantic hero of All the Pretty Horses, recalls his grandfather's stories of Native Americans as he gazes upon telegraph poles early in the novel. In their ongoing attempts to disrupt communication between white settlers, "the Comanche would cut the wires and splice them back with horse-hair" (11), a symbolic triumph of the improvisational over the technological that colors Cole's subsequent journey through the surveyed and fenced enclosures of the Western desert. Along similar lines, in Blood Meridian, Judge Holden establishes his status as the "suzerain" of nature (198) through his interactions with objects--the chief example being his creation of gunpowder from urine and volcanic sulfur. Within McCarthy's nostalgic novels, these instances

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Jun 13, 2009

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