Blood Meridian The ending of the Blood Meridian is both abstruse and compelling. The setting when the kid first walks into town (pp. 324) seems almost too familiar. This town could be any number of different towns located throughout the Midwest, but it seems strangely related to the town of Nacogdoches. The Kid, once thought to be on some sort of migratory movement to the West, has now completed a full circle and has returned to the place of his birth. Birth not in the physical sense of being delivered from his mother's womb, but rather the Kid experienced a rebirth in the form of one of the judge's "great clay voodoo dolls (pp. 13)". Throughout the whole book beginning on pp. 14 and ending with his death, the Kid seems to have had his life manipulated in someway or other by the Judge.
Like the dancing bear on pp. 326, the Kid dances to the beat of the Judge's "fiddle". What does the dance mean to the judge though? Its seems as though the "dance" represents life and life is only good for one thing, war. If one does not "offer up himself to the blood of war (pp. 331)", then that man cannot dance and thus cannot live. Is this why the Kid must die in the end of the book? Because he had chosen to stray away from the fate the Judge had set for him and "elect therefore some opposite course (pp. 330)?" The opposite course the Kid elected for himself was one without pointless slaughter, and meaningless bloodshed.
The kid wants desperately to get away from the "vast" and "broken" world of the desert and elects to complete his "circle" instead of staying out west. He chooses his own path out of the desert, one that "calls for the largeness of heart (pp. 330)", one that deviates from the Judges own "empty, barren, [and] hard [heart, whose] very nature is stone (pp. 330)". This path is one, which does not include war. In the judges eyes the Kid has become a "false dancer (pp. 331)".
The Kid after all the years of false bloodshed that made up his youth, no longer "recognize [s] the sanctity of blood (pp. 331) " and therefore according to the Judge, "dances a false dance". Only the one "who has been to the floor of the pit and seen horror in the round and learned at last that it speaks to his inmost heart (pp. 331) " deserves to live. The judge is that man; he has been to hell and back, and unfortunately for the Kid the judge realizes that the kid can never be like him. That is why the kid must die.
Like the bear, the Kid must die when the music stops. He is no longer able to dance and thus he must no longer be able to live. The place of his birth just so happens to be the place of his death, completing the circle of the kid's destiny. The one thing that the Judge knows that the kid does not is this; no matter what opposite course in destiny one chooses for him, one cannot change the outcome. The kid thinks "even a dumb animal can dance (pp. 331)", but isn't true that the dumb animal was also killed in a hail of gunfire?
The one who was left living was the one holding the gun. According to the judge "there is room on the stage for one beast and one alone (pp. 331)". That beast is the one who embraces death and embraces war, something the kid was not able to do in the end. So like all the others, who were not able to be on stage, the kid is "destined for a night that is eternal and without name (pp. 331)".
That night does have a name however and it is death. The time has come for the Kid's life to start anew. The circle will once again complete itself, starting as before with a young boy and the judge. There is always some one else to be the Judge's "voodoo doll", someone else's soul to manipulate to be just like his. Wars have continued throughout history, and the blood of the innocent is what the Judge needs to survive. That is why they say the judge "never sleeps and never dies (pp. 335)".
The judges is "dancing, dancing" always searching for the one who can take his place, searching for the one who like him "has been to the floor of the pit and seen horror in the round and learned that [like the judge] it speaks to his inmost heart (pp. 331)". Until then the cycle will repeat itself and the Kid will never be "a true dancer", one that deserves to live.