Manifest Destiny and American Identity in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

Document Type: Research Article


1 Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Vali-e-Asr University, Rafsanjan, Iran

2 English Department, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran

3 North American Studies, Faculty of World Studies, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran


McCarthy scholarship has predominantly tended to stress the writer’s revisionism with regard to his rendering of the myth of the American West in Blood Meridian (1985). McCarthy’s novel has beenmainlyhailed as a critique of the violence of manifest destiny. This study aims to delineate aspects of McCarthy’s narrative which resist the predominant view of him as a revisionist. In this regard, it addresses the writer’s representation of manifest destiny and American identity in this narrative. It is argued that McCarthy’s narrative essentially problematizes historiographic representation of the myth of the West not only by denying a valid access to history, but also by calling into doubt the truth claims of such a representation. Furthermore, the writer’s visions of violence and evil as universal entities undermine the predominant view of him as a revisionist. Finally, a critical reading of McCarthy’s rendering of American identity vis-à-vis Native American identity underscores the marginalization and denigration of Native Americans in the text.


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