The bleak violence of Blood Meridian is punctuated at intervals by various vignettes that have an air of surrealism, almost of black comedy. Some examples from memory include:
- The "buffones" and travelling magicians that the Glanton gang meet on the road
- The snake-bit horse with the grotesquely swollen head
- The Judge's story about making his own gunpowder: "piss for your very souls!"
- The "imbecile" in his cage, who is later lead around like a pet by the Judge
Occasional comic lines are not uncommon in McCarthy's work, but the sheer weirdness of parts of Blood Meridian is unusual, at least in his later novels (I'm given to understand that Outer Dark, which I have not read, has similar elements).
Given the somber and serious themes of the novel, what is McCarthy seeking to achieve with these "weird west" interludes in text?