The narrative matrix: The spiritual vision of Cormac McCarthy's “The Crossing”
The Crossing is a novel in which both geographical and spiritual terrain must be navigated, as the title suggests. The spiritual vision of the novel is of humanity's alienation from an unmediated relationship to the deep patterns of continuity that characterize the fundamental matrix of being. The novel explores this spiritual terrain through the use of interpolated stories within the main narrative. In his travels through Mexico, the protagonist, Billy Parham, encounters three storytellers who raise the question of humanity's alienated condition, and offer a vision of restoration that is articulated through narrative, which becomes, in the course of the journey, the principle metaphor of the unalienated condition each storyteller urges Billy to seek. In pursuing these spiritual themes through the use of interpolated stories within the main narrative, the novel itself becomes a metaphor of the matrix-of-being at the heart of existence, a patterning of tales within tales that are ultimately only one tale, for, as one of the storytellers Billy encounters instructs him, there is ultimately only one to tell.
Crews, Michael Lynn, "The narrative matrix: The spiritual vision of Cormac McCarthy's “The Crossing”" (2004). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1423728.