Okay, I’ve got my copy of the book. It’s the hardcover First Edition, so other editions/printings may have different pagination (as is the case with The Road).
That’s right, he doesn’t (308-9). And that’s my point: if they’re to put that sharing between husband and wife in the film like that, especially in the final scene, we need to know how Bell feels about his wife. We need the dialogue from p. 133 in the novel, which I mentioned above.
I think it is important to relate the dream to the 10,000 year water troff is described just before the two dreams. So there is hope is McCarthy’s work, but it very limited.
I agree about the trough. Look at what Bell comes up with there: “There was some sort of promise in his heart [the man who constructed the trough] … I would like to be able to make that kind of promise. I think that’s what I would like most of all” (308).
This in the face of everything he’s just witnessed. I would call this more than hope; I call it theological hope. So while the mentioning of hope is limited – McCarthy has at times a rather morbid fascination with detailing violence – its specific power is superabundant.
I have some initial thoughts on this in the article I’m working on, but not enough to develop it fully here yet.
Also, Ed Tom comes to realize that he is not ahead. He even tells his wife that he decides to quit.
Yes, and one of the toughest scenes is where he walks out of the courthouse for the last time (306). Of the feelings, though, he says to himself, “You need to get over that.” Bell’s unwilling to let despair rest in him. And the hope he has – that line about the promise – comes just after this.
Well, there is no mention of fire in that paragraph. What is mentioned in that part is the woman telling the boy about the breath of God passing from person to person. I am no expert of Gnosticism, but I do know that the Breath of God and its passing between people is an important image (or maybe they mean it literally) to Gnostics.
Why do you take it as the Holy Spirit?
In Gnosticism the demiurge steals the spirit from Sophia and breathes it into beings that cannot stand up for themselves. This counterfeit spirit will be destroyed when the demiurge is destroyed along with the archons by the aeons. For more info on this see the helpful summary in April DeConick’s recent book on the Gospel of Judas, which goes into “Gnostic basics.”
That’s not the context I get from this passage in McCarthy. Here, the focus is praying to the father. And the woman speaks of the spirit being passed down from person to person across the ages – a clear reference to unity in multiplicity and, I would argue, apostolic succession.
This is not Gnosticism because 1) Gnostics such as the Sethians adamantly fought against apostolic succession; 2) any passing of spirit would involve esoterica specific to the group.
Probably most importantly, the woman reaffirms the beneficence and reality of praying for the dead, of the communion of saints, of the goodness of creation from the beginning.
For that last part specifically, see the next (final) chapter of the book, in which McCarthy sees in nature God’s good plan already and yet written in the maps of creation. This is a pivotal image in McCarthy at the ends of his most important works, such as a map of the goodness of Billy Parham’s life always-already written in his work-scarred hands (at the end of the Border Trilogy).