Sheltering Sky versus Blood Meridian Essay

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Extreme circumstances bring about substantial changes in people. At least that is what Paul Bowles and Cormac McCarthy seem to be saying in the writing of their respective books, The Sheltering Sky and Blood Meridian. Both authors place their characters in difficult locations, dealing with difficult people and expect them to emerge changed, for better or for worse. In The Sheltering Sky, Bowles takes his American trio and places them in the desert lands of the African continent where the wide, dry impossibly desolate terrain takes its toll on their minds and bodies. Likewise, McCarthy takes his ragged bunch of marauders, most prominently the Kid, and has them wandering the massive expanse of the untamed west. This convention of forced…show more content…
Both parties chance upon characters, both eccentric and dangerous, and all involved seem to get themselves into the most impossible situations imaginable. Apparently the point Bowles and McCarthy are trying to convey to the reader is that great change and substantial inner growth can only come about through intense emotional stress and physical challenge. Kit, in The Sheltering Sky, learns some very interesting things about herself through the course of our travels with her. She starts out as Port's wife, a secondary character of sorts, afraid to voice her opinions on virtually everything. We have the inside track on her thought s and feelings though, and are privy to the fact that she is unhappy not only with her situation and current location, but also with her marriage and identity. We get our first glimpse of her realization of these problems on her train ride with Tunner, as Port is traveling with the Lyles. Her spontaneous affair with Tunner is a symptom of her unhappiness and is the beginning of a downward spiral that takes her to the brink of insanity and far beyond. We see the beginning of her growth in her encounter in the Fourth Class cabin of the train when see comes in close contact with the miserable peasant folk and she realizes that aside from their cultural differences she is no better than these simple folk and in some ways she is far worse. As her story progresses we, the reader, get to see the progress of her downfall due to the

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