Cormac McCarthy and Contemporary American Literature

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THESIS: Literature plays a critical role in reflecting the prevailing customs. One of the notable authors, who played a crucial role in streamlining American literature, is Cormac McCarthy. His efforts have played a crucial role in streamlining contemporary American literature. The author’s bibliography, style of writing, as well as one of the works, are exhibited in this paper. Such analysis facilitates the exploration of the significance of literature in the contemporary setting.

I. Cormac McCarthy’s Biography.

A. Born on July 20, 1933.

B. Educational Experiences.

C. Literary Works.

II. Cormac McCarthy’s Writing Style.

A. Sparse Punctuation.

B. The element of dialogue.

C. The use of visual imagery

III. The Orchard Keeper.

A. Relation between the novel and the author.

B. Plot of the novel.

C. Significance of the novel.

Explanation Behind the Choice of Cormac McCarthy

I settled for an analysis on Cormac McCarthy because of the diversity of his themes in the literary world. The author presents an unconventional approach towards literature, given his commitment to various disciplines and wide range of topics he covers. Through his efforts, we are allowed insight on the evolving nature of literature. Essentially, his efforts offer a platform through which a comparison of modern and past literature can be achieved.

Cormac McCarthy’s Biography

The author who was born on July 20, 1933, in Rhode Island, was brought up in the Roman Catholic church, had five siblings, went to Tennesse University where he started his writing began, and he published two stories, ‘Wake for Susan' and ‘A Drowning Incident.' However, his first book that will be talked about later in this essay is ‘The Orchard Keeper’ that was published in 1965 (Evenson 135). The author married Lee Holleman but the marriage failed to work out, and he later married Anne DeLisle. After his first work, the author proceeded to write other books including Outer Dark in 1968, Child of God in 1973 after which he started working on a screenplay, The Gardner’s Son between 1974and 1975. In 1979, the author published the novel, Suttree, which became his fourth followed by Blood Meridian in 1985, a novel that has generally been rated the best work of McCarthy. Another one, All the Pretty Horses came in 1992 that was volume one of The Border Trilogy followed a play, The Stonemason then the second volume, The Crossing. The publishing of his third volume, Cities of the Plain was done in 1998 about the same time McCarthy had a third marriage by taking Jennifer Winkley. The publishing of No Country for Old Men happened in 2005 and 2006, The Road and 2013; the author gifted the world with the play, The Counselor.

Cormac McCarthy’s writing style

The author employs a sparse use of punctuation in his work with the intention of having simple sentences that are declarative. Thompson’s dialogues are not marked with the quotations, and there is lack of attribution in such dialogues (88). However, the reader does not find it difficult in orienting the character speaking although there is the omission of quotations. Further, his works also portray that the author has mastered the skill of sentence structure, which is evident in the way the maps and re-maps Knoxville town in his works. The redefinition of the setting in the subsequent stories reflects the author’s sense of diversity. Further, he mostly employs the use of visual imagery in his works. Visual imagery provides the author with the tool that is needed to capture the interests of the readers. Notably, McCarthy’s writing style was intended to reflect the prevailing principles which guided the writing experiences in the 20th century.

The Orchard Keeper

The novel portrays the author as impressed with the enormous powers that he possesses in the literary field, which is shown in the manner that he uses the visual imagery for about all the items that he writes about or describes in his writing (Ragan 76). Markedly, the author also uses remarkable prose in writing this novel that is aided by the fresh noun refurbishment as well as the adjectives as verbs. In fact, McCarthy combines two unlike nouns to form an adjective in various instances in the novel as well as a language that may reach the cadence as well as a portent of epic. The novel is so much fractured that the plot it has tends to revolve around a particular drifter who was picked up when he was a hitchhiker but later tries inexplicably to cause the death of the driver, a move that brings his death instead (Brewt 139). On the other hand, the author uses the character, Sylder to show the condition of the society. As this character is caught and arraigned in court for selling untaxed whiskey, his monologue sums up a central moral question. The character talks about the irony of the jobs that are unlawful paying much more than the others.

Works Cited

Brewt, Vince. "The Changing Landscape of Violence in Mccarthy's Early Novels And The Border Trilogy."The American Literature, vol 37, 2004, pp. 121-143., Accessed 28 June 2018.

Evenson. "Embodying Violence: The Case of Cormac Mccarthy."The Cormac Mccarthy Journal, vol 14, no. 2, 2016, p. 135. The Pennsylvania State University Press, doi:10.5325/cormmccaj.14.2.0135.

McCarthy, Cormac. The Orchard Keeper. Picador, 1994, pp. 1-70.

Ragan, David. "Values and Structures."The Orchard Keeper- Mccarthy, vol 6, 2018, pp. 34-97., Accessed 28 June 2018.

Thompson. "Reverse Engineering Cormac Mccarthy's Sentences."The Cormac Mccarthy Journal, vol 15, no. 1, 2017, p. 88. The Pennsylvania State University Press, doi:10.5325/cormmccaj.15.1.0088.

November 24, 2023


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Literature Review

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