Blood Meridian

A member of Glanton’s gang, Tobin is often called the ex-priest, but he later tells the Judge that he was merely “a novitiate to the order.” To some extent, he and the Judge compete with one another for spiritual influence over the kid. Indeed, after the Yuma massacre Tobin and the kid informally ally themselves against the Judge while all of them are destitute in the desert—but though Tobin repeatedly tells the kid that he must kill the Judge, the kid declines for whatever reason to do so. Shot by the Judge while bearing a makeshift cross, Tobin nonetheless escapes with the kid to San Diego where he seeks medical attention. His fate is unknown.

Ben Tobin Quotes in Blood Meridian

The Blood Meridian quotes below are all either spoken by Ben Tobin or refer to Ben Tobin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Blood Meridian published in 1992.
Chapter 8 Quotes

The nearest man to him [the white Jackson] was Tobin and when the black stepped out of the darkness bearing the bowieknife in both hands like some instrument of ceremony Tobin started to rise. The white man looked up drunkenly and the black stepped forward and with a single stroke swapt off his head.

Related Characters: The John Jacksons, Ben Tobin
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

For let it go how it will, he said, God speaks in the least of creatures.

Related Characters: Ben Tobin (speaker)
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 12 Quotes

The trailing of the argonauts terminated in ashes and…the expriest asked if some might not see the hand of a cynical god conducting with what austerity and what mock surprise so lethal a congruence. The posting of witnesses by a third and other path altogether might also be called in evidence as appearing to beggar chance, yet the judge…said that in this was expressed the very nature of the witness and that his proximity was no third thing but rather the prime, for what could be said to occur unobserved?

Related Characters: Judge Holden, Ben Tobin
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ben Tobin Character Timeline in Blood Meridian

The timeline below shows where the character Ben Tobin appears in Blood Meridian. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
Fate Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...on it. A female magician begins chanting and says something in Spanish. Jackson asks Ben Tobin, an ex-priest in the gang, what the woman is saying, but Tobin dismisses fortune telling... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
...the fire. The Judge tells Jackson that the woman is saying he should avoid rum. Tobin says that this would not constitute a fortune, and the Judge agrees. He assures Jackson... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
...member from Kentucky called Tate (his first name is later given as Sam)—who served with Tobin and other gang members with McCulloch’s Rangers during the Mexican-American War—whispers to the old magician,... (full context)
Chapter 8
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...moments later with a knife, with which he decapitates the white Jackson, despite the ex-priest Tobin rising to intervene. In the morning, the gang rides on, while the headless body of... (full context)
Chapter 10
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Some nights later, Tobin and the kid are sitting together around a campfire, the kid rather efficiently mending a... (full context)
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
Tobin suggests that perhaps the Judge’s immense learnedness just goes to show how little God cares... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Tobin then begins to tell the kid about how the Judge first fell in with Glanton’s... (full context)
Fate Theme Icon
...The Judge advised that the gang change course for some mountains, and they did so. Tobin wonders aloud how the Judge knew what the mountains held and how to use it. (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
...night, the gang arrives at a cave full of the bats the Judge studied earlier. Tobin says that the Judge brought the gang there for the nitre, also known as saltpeter... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...the pursuing Indians, skinned, and strung up. Because neither deserter had gunpowder on his person, Tobin infers that the Indians must have known by then that the gang in general had... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...a sermon about how the earth contains “all good things” in itself, like an egg. Tobin recalls how there were hoof markings in the malpais and speculates that they were created... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Tobin’s story is ended. The kid asks what, exactly, the Judge is a judge of, but... (full context)
Chapter 11
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Tobin observes that both the son of the murderous father and of the ideal father came... (full context)
Chapter 12
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...that men engaging in rash undertakings often become preoccupied with ideas of chance and fate. Tobin comments that it is a cynical god who would lead travelers directly into the path... (full context)
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
...succeeds in removing the arrow’s point and shaft, but when he returns to his blanket Tobin hisses into his ear that he got lucky, because if he had failed to remove... (full context)
Chapter 13
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
...arrive at a village called Nacori, where they dismount to refresh themselves in a cantina. Tobin guards the horses. A funeral procession passes, and the juggler heading it explodes a rocket,... (full context)
Chapter 15
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...beyond the firelight, he asks for help in killing it; none rise to help him. Tobin tells the kid to ignore the Judge and places “a cautionary hand upon the kid’s... (full context)
Chapter 17
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...the gang is sitting around the fire, the Judge off on some mission. Someone asks Tobin if there used to be two moons in the sky, and he says it’s possible.... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
The Judge asks Tobin what he thinks. “The priest does not say,” Tobin replies. The Judge counters that the... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
...“the mystery is that there is no mystery.” When the Judge raises and moves away, Tobin says that the Judge is himself a mystery. (full context)
Chapter 20
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
...Alamo Mucho (a lake basin in Baja California), the kid and Toadvine meet up with Tobin. They drop down into one of the wells together to drink while the Indians fan... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
The Judge invites the kid and Tobin to join him down the slope for meat and water, but the two are nervous.... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
Fate Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
The Judge offers the kid $500 for his pistol, gunpowder, and ammunition. Tobin urges the kid to shoot the Judge then and there, for he’ll have no other... (full context)
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
Tobin and the kid soon come across David Brown in the desert. Brown asks about what’s... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
As Tobin and the kid trek through the desert the following day, they encounter the ruins of... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
At night, the kid and Tobin reunite; the ex-priest is bearing a cross fashioned from the shins of a ram and... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...to surrender his pistol as punishment for killing the horses. He says he knows that Tobin put the kid up to it, and will take that as a mitigating factor. The... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
That night, Tobin and the kid set off across the dunes, looking back one last time to see... (full context)
Chapter 21
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
Tobin tells the kid to leave him and save himself, but the kid declines and the... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...enough, a parasol made from rotten hides and bones. The two of them pass where Tobin and the kid are hiding and disappear into the sands. Tobin says that the kid... (full context)
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
Tobin and the kid discuss where to go, but as they do the Judge returns. He... (full context)
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
The kid and Tobin would have died in the sands had a band of Diegueño Indians not found them.... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
The next day, Tobin and the kid journey westward toward the mountains, resting at Warner’s Ranch before moving on.... (full context)
Chapter 22
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
...find the Judge standing before his cage for a visit. The Judge tells him that Tobin has gone mad, and that the local authorities believe the Judge’s own word that the... (full context)
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...within a week the kid is able to hobble through town on crutches. He seeks Tobin, but no one knows what’s become of him. (full context)
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...a Bible that he cannot read. He witnesses more violence in his life, never sees Tobin again, and hears rumors about the Judge everywhere he goes. (full context)