Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wars and Rumors of Wars In the Border Trilogy

Evenin Mr Johnson, he said.
Evenin son.
What's the news?
The old man shook his head. He leaned across the table to the windowsill where the radio sat and turned it off. It aint news no more, he said. Wars and rumors of wars.
Cities of the Plain, 61.

Commenting on this scene, John Wegner argues that "War is the central thesis to McCarthy's southwestern works" (73).

He follows this assertion with a survey of the wars that frame the Border Trilogy:

The Crossing begins between World War I and World War II with American on the verge of the Depression, and Cities of the Plain essentially ends in 1952 as America's presence in Korea grows. John Grady Cole's father returns from a World War II p.o.w. camp sick and dying; The Crossing ends with Billy's witness of the 'strange false sunrise . . . of the Trinity Test'; and Cities of the Plain begins with John Grady's drinking with Troy, a war veteran. 
After pointing out the prominent role of the Mexican Revolution on the one hand, and America's involvement in World War II on the other, Wegner notes that "these two wars act as historical frames for the [Border Trilogy], defining and mapping the world in which these characters must live and survive" (74).

–John Wegner, "Wars and Rumors of Wars in Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy," in A Cormac McCarthy Companion: The Border Trilogy, 73-74. (Kindle)


  1. Excellent!

    Whenever I finish my dissertation, I hope to update more frequently.