Judge Holden from The Blood Meridian – The Best Fictional Character

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 962 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021

Words: 962|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Aug 6, 2021


Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Assertive Actions
  3. Contradictory Beliefs
  4. Strength of Conviction
  5. Conclusion


In the realm of literature, certain characters emerge as remarkable figures, captivating readers with their complexity and compelling narratives. Among the myriad of fictional characters created since the 1900s, Judge Holden, from Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian," stands as an enigmatic and unforgettable presence. Judge Holden's character is a confluence of assertive actions, contradictory beliefs, and an unwavering strength of conviction, making him the quintessential embodiment of an anti-hero. This essay aims to explore these facets of Judge Holden's character and demonstrate why he is, unequivocally, the most compelling character among the one hundred fictional novels since the 1900s.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Assertive Actions

One of the defining characteristics of Judge Holden is his assertive nature. "Blood Meridian" unfolds in the harsh and unforgiving landscape of Tennessee, where a young runaway known as "The Kid" embarks on a tumultuous journey. Here, he encounters Judge Holden, a character shrouded in mystery and violence. It is Holden's assertiveness that immediately captures the reader's attention. He exhibits a dominating presence, taking charge of situations and often assuming a leadership role within the story's society.

The Judge's assertiveness is highlighted by his role in a gang of outlaws led by Glanton. They roam the borderlands, perpetrating acts of robbery and torture, creating an atmosphere of terror wherever they go. The Judge's authority within this gang is clear, as he orchestrates events and dictates the actions of those around him. McCarthy's prose paints a vivid picture, stating,

"All about her the dead lay with their peeled skulls like polyps bluely wet or luminescent melons cooling on some mesa of the moon,"

illustrating the grim reality of life under the Judge's rule.

Moreover, Judge Holden's assertiveness is juxtaposed with his anti-villain characteristics, as exemplified by his quote,

"For whoever makes a shelter of reeds and hides has joined his spirit to the common destiny of creatures, and he will subside back into the primal mud with scarcely a cry."

This reflects the respect Holden commands, even among criminals. He is seen as a leader who transcends conventional morality, which adds depth to his character.

Contradictory Beliefs

Another compelling aspect of Judge Holden's character is his contradictory beliefs, especially regarding religion and the existence of a divine entity. Throughout "Blood Meridian," McCarthy explores the theme of faith and its absence. Holden emerges as a character who challenges conventional religious beliefs, asking profound questions about the nature of God and human suffering.

Holden's skepticism is evident when he questions,

"If God meant to interfere with the degeneracy of mankind, would he not have done so by now?"

This query forces readers to confront the idea that perhaps there is no benevolent deity overseeing the world's affairs. As "The Kid" takes refuge in a church, symbolizing a society indifferent to human suffering, it is Judge Holden who allows him to seek sanctuary there, highlighting the complexity of his character.

The Judge further explores his beliefs by pitting different religious groups against each other, symbolizing the ideological conflicts that plague society. His actions are not driven by faith but rather by his own philosophical perspective, challenging traditional notions of morality and religion. This is exemplified when he says, "Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts it at every turn," underscoring his unique and unorthodox worldview.

Strength of Conviction

Judge Holden's unwavering strength of conviction is a cornerstone of his character. He possesses a rare determination to reshape society according to his own vision, even if it appears unattainable. Holden holds himself in high regard, considering himself superior to others, and this self-assuredness shapes his actions and interactions.

Holden's belief in the significance of knowledge is a recurring theme in the novel. He argues,

"The man who believes that the secrets of this world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear."

This statement reflects his conviction that knowledge should not be concealed but rather shared and embraced. Holden views himself as the guardian of certain knowledge, creating an aura of mystique around his character.

Furthermore, Judge Holden is not just a ruthless enforcer of his beliefs; he also displays compassion and empathy, challenging the stereotype of a one-dimensional antagonist. He refuses to give up on "The Kid," who is often viewed as a societal outcast, remarking, "Countermands local judgments." This unwavering commitment to his own moral code sets him apart from conventional characters in literature.


In summary, Judge Holden in Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" is a literary character of unparalleled depth and complexity. His assertive actions, contradictory beliefs, and unwavering strength of conviction make him stand out among the multitude of fictional characters created since the 1900s. Holden's ability to challenge societal norms and provoke thought on religion, morality, and knowledge elevates him beyond the confines of a mere character in a novel.

Get a custom paper now from our expert writers.

Judge Holden embodies the essence of an anti-hero, defying conventional expectations and forcing readers to grapple with profound questions about humanity and existence. In the grand tapestry of literary creations, Judge Holden is a character who not only demands attention but also leaves an indelible mark on the landscape of modern literature.


  1. McCarthy, C. (1985). Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West. Vintage.
  2. Bloom, H. (2009). Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian: A Reader’s Guide. Bloomsbury Academic.
  3. Frye, S. (2010). Cormac McCarthy’s House: Reading McCarthy Without Walls. University Press of Mississippi.
  4. Levitt, A., & Markey, J. (2008). Violence in Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian” and “No Country for Old Men”. South Central Review, 25(1), 40-57.
  5. Siess, M. (2017). “Blood Meridian” and the Southern Gothic Tradition. The Cormac McCarthy Journal, 15(1), 56-74.
Image of Dr. Charlotte Jacobson
This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

Judge Holden From The Blood Meridian – The Best Fictional Character. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“Judge Holden From The Blood Meridian – The Best Fictional Character.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021,
Judge Holden From The Blood Meridian – The Best Fictional Character. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
Judge Holden From The Blood Meridian – The Best Fictional Character [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Aug 06 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
Keep in mind: This sample was shared by another student.
  • 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help
  • Custom essay delivered in as few as 3 hours
Write my essay

Still can’t find what you need?

Browse our vast selection of original essay samples, each expertly formatted and styled


Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!


    Get Your
    Personalized Essay in 3 Hours or Less!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now