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The Character of Judge Holden in Blood Meridian

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The novel Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy expresses how sticking up for others as well as anti-heroism can all come together to form the best character. Judge Holden is the best character out of the one hundred fictional novels since the 1900s because of his assertive actions, contradictory beliefs, and strength of convection.

Judge Holden’s assertive actions make him the best character. Blood Meridian takes place in Tennessee, where a runaway teen boy who goes by the name of “The Kid” heads to New Orleans and lives a life of fighting. Here he also meets Judge Holden, who he sees as a mysterious, violent man. Holden is the antagonist in this novel and uses his actions, like his attitude, to capture the reader’s attention. Holden tends to take charge of what is going on and is seen as a leader in society’s eyes by doing so. Holden expresses anti-villain characteristics, for example in the novel it says, “For whoever makes a shelter of reeds and hides has joined his spirit to the common destiny of creatures and he will subside back into the primal mud with scarcely a cry.” (146). This quote represents how Holden is respected more than others as he describes the Anasazi discovery of a gang. Holden is a leader of the gang, along with Glanton, and they control the criminals who rob and torture others across the borderlands, “All about her the dead lay with their peeled skulls like polyps bluely wet or luminescent melons cooling on some mesa of the moon.” (174). This quote expresses how people reacted to gangs, fighting and, more importantly, how Holden took charge of the rambunctious events. The quote, “At a young age, said the judge, they should be put in a pit with wild dogs” shows how Holden wanted to treat part of the society that didn’t listen to him versus how others handled situations (146). This is why Holden is seen as the best character due to his assertive actions.

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Contradicting beliefs also make Holden the best character. McCarthy mentions religion throughout the novel and questions whether or not God is real, “If God meant to interfere with the degeneracy of mankind would he not have done so by now?” (146). McCarthy refers to this too by, according to Holden, if there was such a thing as what we call God wouldn’t he have helped the humans that are suffering. In Blood Meridian, “The Kid” was sleeping in a church and that expressed how society didn’t care to help others. Although Holden was seen as a person who contradicts everything that comes his way, he was still willing to allow this boy to stay inside the church. Holden also expressed his belief on whether God was real or just a fantasy by representing Wars and having gangs of different religions go against one another to justify the outcome of his beliefs. The quote, “I pray to God for this country. I say that to you. I pray. I don’t go to church. What I need to do is talk to them dolls there? I talk here’ represents society’s beliefs on what was going to happen to America if no one jumped in to help, such as The Judge, since he is the one who has more power over the society and is ideal to some (103).

Strengths of convection also express how Holden is the best character because of his reactions to what goes on around him. Holden dares to change society even if it is something he most likely can’t do. Holden holds himself up higher and sees himself as superior more than others do. The quote, “The man who believes that the secrets of this world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear” represents Judge Holden arguing that knowledge he didn’t have such as a specific topic is not to exist without permission from himself (146). “Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts it at every turn,” represents the conversation Holden is having with fellow men and how others only saw his viewpoint as the only viewpoint that was available (250). Another example of Holden’s strengths of convection making him the best character is (333) “The judge was seated upon the closet. He was naked and rose to smile and gathered him in his arms against his immense and terrible flesh and shot the wooden bar latch home behind him.” This represents how Holden was able to do what he does because he has power over others. Holden isn’t treated brutally because of his reaction he is praised. Making Holden yet again the best character. In the novel, Holden explains how he wished he had more offered to him rather than just judgments by others, “Countermands local judgments”(198). Another example that shows why Holden is the best character out of all the books is, “whatever his antecedents is something wholly other than their sum, nor is there a system by which to divide him back into his origins for he will not go” this quote expresses how Holden never gave up on the kid although many saw him as a disgrace to the society for what he has done. Holden sees him as a normal kid who is going through a hard time and just needs someone to be there with him (309).

All in all, Holden is the best fictional character out of the one hundred there are because of his assertive actions, contradictory beliefs, and strength of convection. Without these characteristics, he would just be considered a character in a novel, not the best one. However, since McCarty gives The Judge these characteristics and Holden plays this role very well, it makes him the best fictional character out of all the novels there are.

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