“Are you saying that men have tried throughout history to cure themselves of death by killing others?”
“And you call this exciting?”
“I’m talking theory. In theory, violence is a form of rebirth. The dier passively succumbs. The killer lives on. What a marvelous equation. As a marauding band amasses dead bodies, it gathers strength. Strength accumulates like a favor from the gods.”
–White Noise, pg.290.
The particular conversation between Jack and Murray that contains this excerpt was incredibly interesting to me. I found myself oddly grateful of Murray’s analysis of Jack, because it was both stunningly accurate and insightful. Murray put into words perfectly my own thoughts on Jack; Jack is weak and helpless, and weak and helpless people are drawn to epic and intimidating men. In building a career around Hitler studies, Jack hopes to simultaneously hide himself in Hitler and “grow in significance and strength” by his connection to Hitler. Jack fails to “get around” death by employing both methods, as a result badly contradicting himself; As Murray says (and even Jack admits), the word for this attempt is “dumb.”
The exact excerpt of the conversation above stuck out when I read it because it brought to mind Blood Meridian. In fact, that comment on the cover of Blood Meridian, “A classic American novel of regeneration through violence” meshes perfectly with Murray’s comment that “In theory, violence is a form of rebirth.” Going even further, Murray’s description of a marauding band amassing dead bodies (and in so doing gaining strength), serves as a direct tie in to Blood Meridian; That is exactly what happens in the novel. The Judge and Glanton’s outfit are a marauding band of men, a group that kills people and takes their scalps as souvenirs, souvenirs that serve as proof that they conquered those people; And in this scenario, the ability to conquer people is equivalent to strength.
The only thing that strikes me as odd is Murray’s placement of “In theory” before “violence is a form of rebirth.” However, I think his “in theory” is just a way to protect himself from the implications of saying something dangerous; It serves almost as a disclaimer (He does something akin to this again later on, as the two continue to talk about killing).
The question remains, however, whether or not any of the men in Glanton’s outfit can be named among those in history who “tried to cure themselves of death by killing others.” In a way, I think they were (at least in a very literal sense); Especially the kid. It was either kill or be killed, kill to escape and kill to prosper.