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When it appears in excess, violence in literature presents itself as a question. This violence pushes readers into an area of discomfort, which compels them to account for and understand it in an attempt to understand how it is that one can be drawn to such bloody work. This project analyzes two such works, Louis-Ferdinand Céline's Journey to the End of the Night and Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. Despite the obvious disparities between the two novels' cultural and literary contexts, they both contain a violence that at many points resists interpretation and remains opaque to the reader. In my readings of these texts, I explore the relationship between violence and concepts such as the subject, history, narrative, language, and representation. Rather than a maintaining a symbolic value or specific meaning, violence creates questions for literature and forces a rethinking of the capabilities of literary representation. I attempt to offer an account of violence without reducing it to a symbol that can be explained away or a question that can be discarded.
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Opgenorth, Lucas Lindon, "Death and Shadow: Opaque Violence in Journey to the End of the Night and Blood Meridian" (2013). Senior Projects Fall 2013. 27.