They Kept on Teaching

I recently took up Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. It was not what I expected. I read a lot of non-fiction and being out of the classroom, this has only increased. So as part of my summer siesta I turned to McCarthy for some relief.

Blood Meridian is one of those books that seems to come up again and again in discussions. I recall it being reviewed on The Book Club, while Jim Groom often mentions it. I imagined it would be an American version of the True History of the Kelly Gang. I was wrong. McCarthy makes Peter Carey look like a children’s author.

The key to Carey’s retelling is that it is done through the perspective of authority. Although he gives accounts of murder and hardship, the description is somewhat subdued. Although Blood Meridian involves power, it is a power that exists beyond the grip of authority. The fact that one of the main characters is The Judge only adds to this irony.

Blood Meridian is instead a book about silence. It attempts to captures a violent world that in Carey’s tale is somewhat left untold. When all is said and done, it feels like there is so much left unsaid. In particular, we are left guessing about the thoughts and intentions of the various characters. All we can do is presume. The only guarantee is that no matter what happens,they kept on riding.

This notion of going on reminds me of education. Often there are stories told, official stories. Ones about timetableedtech platformscurriculumdisciplines. However, beneath these tales are stories that often remain silent. Jagged stories that defy statistics. Stories of actions and interpretation. Amongst all of this there are people who each and every day simply teach on.


I have read many books, but there are only a few that I feel I will never completely forget. Midnight’s Children is one, Blood Meridian is another. So what about you? What are the uncanny books that stay with you after the fact? As always, comments welcome.


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Aaron Davis

I am an Australian educator supporting schools with the integration of technology and pedagogical innovation. I have an interest in how together we can work to make a better world.

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3 thoughts on “They Kept on Teaching

  1. Glad you like Blood Meridian, and I second the idea that this one will remain indelibly burnt on my imagination. The passage of the horribles is enough to make the hair on my neck stand at attention. I just picked up another book by McCarthy last week titled The Crossing. It is a bit less intense that BM (what isn’t?) but I really am digging his descriptions of this boy taking a feral wolf back to Mexico. He really is an awesome writer.

    1. McCarthy’s descriptions are so raw and intense. Yet, they don’t necessarily seem forced or contrived. Definitely haunting.

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