Despite being the end to this story, this last section leaves many thoughts to be analyzed and developed. In the final pages of the book, the kid begins to be referred to as “the man”. During the violence and trials that were experienced in the novel, did the kid change? Could this be seen as a deeper indication of his maturity throughout the story? At this point, he seems to no longer engage heavily in the senseless violence that plagued earlier chapters. An important detail to note is that he wears Brown’s necklace. I see this as a representation of his violent past and how he no longer lets it control his actions. Is it safe to say that the kid has grown into a man maturity-wise and physically, or do you think McCormick had another purpose in changing his title/status?
Was the kid’s “maturity” in vain? In the scene at the bar, the Judge talked to the kid about his fate. The judge talks about the future as if it is inherited, predetermined, and inevitable. The judge says, “A man seeks his own destiny and no other” (McCarthy 344). To come to a conclusion about a change in maturity and nature of the kid, one must consider the previous statement that at birth he possessed “already a taste for mindless violence” (McCarthy 3). This conversation hints that no matter what actions the kid made, he would again be taken into darkness and violence. Could McCarthy be trying to tell us that our nature is who we are and that there is no sense in trying to change or am I simply reading too much into this? If McCarthy is saying that we can’t change our predetermined fate, what is the point of showing us his maturity or trying to overcome violence?
An important scene that really must be discussed that wraps up the whole idea of darkness and not being able to escape it is the scene with the judge in the latrine. It seems that this is the kid’s death, although the whole scene is shrouded in mystery and ambiguity. Despite the incessant violence in the rest of the book, this important moment contains no brutality and happens quite swiftly. McCarthy tells us that the judge enveloped the kid and after, proceeded to do a “victory dance” and claims that “he never sleeps” and “that he will never die” (McCarthy 349). What significance does the lack of violence have? Upon further analysis of this scene, could it have been more than the kid’s death? Maybe it’s the judge’s way of welcoming him back to the darkness and then celebrating it?
As a separate thought, the short and enigmatic epilogue cannot be ignored and should also be looked at as tying up many themes from the last chapters as well as the entire book. Is the man symbolizing the judge? Is it trying to explain us marking our paths with fire? Do we inevitably invite violence into our lives by living? Like the kid, are we influenced by violence from the time of our birth and can we escape the cycle of it? This extremely brief epilogue can be taken to mean many things. What do you think is the message and purpose of it?