“Cormac McCarthy’s novels are as innocent of theme and of ethical reference as they are of plot. On the other hand, each of them constitutes a densely created world as authentic and persuasive as any that there is in fiction. The worlds are convincing not because the people in them do normal and recognizable things, or represent us metaphorically, or even inhabit identifiable time and space, but because McCarthy compels us to believe in them through the traditional means of invention, command of language, and narrative art. To enter those worlds and move around in them effectively we are required to surrender all Cartesian predispositions and rediscover some primal state of consciousness prior to its becoming identified with thinking only. There is a powerful pressure of meaning in McCarthy’s novels, but the experience of significance does not translate into communicable abstractions of significance. … Ethical categories do not rule in this environment, or even pertain: moral considerations seem not to affect outcomes; action and event seem determined wholly by capricious and incomprehensible fates. His stories are lurid and simple; they seem oddly like paradigms without reference and are all the more compelling because of that, since the matter of the paradigm does not lose its particularity in abstraction. The characters–without utilitarian responsibilities to well-made plots and unrelated to our bourgeois better natures–are real precisely to the degree that they resist symbolization.” (Vereen M. Bell)