Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing describes the protagonist’s burial of a killed she-wolf. McCarthy uses thorough, concrete diction to make powerful visuals that convey the depth of the protagonist’s experience. Imagery, which is also tied with abstract religious and spiritual references, underlies the passage’s somber, reverential mood, and display the deep sadness and wonder felt by the protagonist.
Cormac McCarthy uses diction and imagery to show the impact of the experience on the main character.McCarthy uses specific vocabulary to convey the visual, concrete, and auditory experiences of the protagonist. The narrator describes wild scenery as “grassy swales” beneath “tall escarpments” (2-3).
The protagonist hears the “yapping” of the coyotes in the surrounding hills, as he sees the sun “graying faintly in the east”. (11-12). The imagery used symbolizes the emotions of the protagonist for he is trying to get over the loss of his companion. The narrator describes the main character’s interactions with the she-wolf as the protagonist cradles the wolf as her own blood dried upon the main character’s “trousers stiff with blood” (4-5). These examples of imagery show the protagonist’s feelings towards the she-wolf by the way treats her. The wolf’s “eye turned to the fire gave no light”, so the protagonists closes it and puts his hand upon her “bloodied forehead” (41-43). McCarthy’s narrator creates beautiful and emotional visuals which conveys the impact of the wolf’s death on the protagonist.
Diction becomes an important role in expressing the emotions towards the wolf’s death which has impacted the protagonist. McCarthy develops a histrionic mood by describing the scenery as having “talus sides” (line 1). As the passage continues, the development of word choice increases. This is seen when McCarthy makes the claim: “What blood and bone are made of but can themselves not make on any alter nor by any wound of war” (57-58).
This quote expresses that the make-up of a normal body can create the emptiness of a creature, but in way, shape or form, an act of man can bring back a soul to fill the gap. The terms “blood”, “bone”, and “wound of war” are all very deep-toned expressions in which their usage illustrates the focus and emotions of the protagonist. The experience of the protagonist in The Crossing is described by the diction and imagery. Cormac McCarthy uses the figurative language to express the emotions of the protagonist without having to state it directly which gives his reader a better understanding of the mood and feelings of the protagonist.