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Extreme circumstances bring about substantial changes in people At least that is what Paul Bowles and Cormac McCarthy seem to be saying in the writing of their respective books The Sheltering Sky and Blood Meridian Both authors place their characters in difficult locations dealing with difficult people and expect them to emerge changed for better or for worse In The Sheltering Sky Bowles takes his American trio and places them in the desert lands of the African continent where the wide dry impossibly desolate terrain takes its toll on their minds and bodies Likewise McCarthy takes his ragged bunch of marauders most prominently the Kid and has them wandering the massive expanse of the untamed west This convention of forced growth is constant throughout both books and the reader gets the unique opportunity to observe those changes from an objective point of view In The Sheltering Sky we meet Port Kit and Tunner initially as continental Americans on a sort of tour for spoiled expatriates They seem oblivious to the fact that the area and the people who inhabit it are recently war-torn and decimated The countryside has been ravaged by the war but the three of them seem to ignore that fact and continue through it in a sort of dazed self indulged coma The same or a similar situation is present in McCarthys Blood Meridian his characters mainly the Kid are making their way across the Old West looking for money an adventure They venture into Mexico encountering peasant villagers both hostile and peaceful as well as numerous tribes of Native Americans Both parties chance upon characters both eccentric and dangerous and all involved seem to get themselves into the most impossible situations imaginable Apparently the point Bowles and McCarthy are trying to convey to the reader is that great change and substantial inner growth can only come about through intense emotional stress and physical challenge Kit in The Sheltering
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