Annotations to Blood Meridian: Chapter I
Page numbers are [bracketed] and correspond to the 25th Anniversary Edition of Blood Meridian, published in 2010 by Vintage.
 “See the child.”—The first line of the novel recalls the first line of Cormac’s favorite book, Moby-Dick: “Call me Ishmael.”
 “scullery”—a small kitchen at the back of a house. The Kid’s home is like composed of two separate square cabins separated by a dogtrot.
 “the child the father of the man”—from William Wordsworth’s poem “My Heart Leaps Up”:
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
 “flatboat”—a cheaply-made barge that was often used to carry goods down the Mississippi River to the port of New Orleans. On arrival, flatboats were disassembled and sold as lumber, as the Kid’s vessel is here.
 “a Maltese boatswain”—boatswain is a rank given to the most senior enlisted member of a ship’s crew, responsible for supervising the enlisted men on deck. This particular boatswain is from the island nation of Malta, south of Sicily.
[4-5] “the boat is going to Texas. Only now is the child finally divested of all that he has been. His origins are becomes remote as is his destiny…”—The move to Texas is transformative for the Kid as it was for his Tennessean author. McCarthy moved from Louisville, Tennessee to El Paso in 1976 and began work on Blood Meridian. After the appearance of Suttree in 1979 (the last of his “Appalachian novels”), his next five books would be set in Texas and the American Southwest.