Cami Ann Dilg

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Nathan Straight

Second Advisor

Keri Holt

Third Advisor

Judson Finley


This literary analysis expands the scholarly canon concerning Cormac McCarthy’s regional writing by identifying the purpose of pictographs and petroglyphs in Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West (1985). Not only do pictographs and petroglyphs tie the narrative to place, but they create a commentary regarding the erasure of Native American histories in the United States. These images record Native American memory and presence in the landscape, and by referencing them, McCarthy confronts concepts of exposure and shame, which facilitates conversations concerning Native American genocide. A close analysis of character interaction with and scene placement of these images supports this argument. I trace the shift of medium used to record pictographs and petroglyphs with emphasis on Plains Indian adornment, ledger drawings, and rock images, and I give particular attention to Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, and Shoshone actors in the United States’ national drama of land acquisition, otherwise known as Manifest Destiny.