Blood Meridian

Captain White Character Analysis

The racist leader of an army of filibusters—government soldiers operating outside the limits of the law—with which the kid rides and a staunch advocate for American imperialism, White is embittered by the aftermath of the Mexican-American War and becomes hell-bent on invading and seizing Mexican territory. He claims to be an American patriot, yet he hypocritically breaks American law in invading Mexico. He claims to be delivering justice and liberation to “a dark and troubled land,” yet he hypocritically plans on pillaging the country of its resources. White survives the Comanches’ destruction of his army, but dies at the hands of Mexican bandits. The last the kid sees of Captain White is his head floating in a jar of mescal.

Captain White Quotes in Blood Meridian

The Blood Meridian quotes below are all either spoken by Captain White or refer to Captain White. 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 3 Quotes

There is no government in Mexico. Hell, there’s no God in Mexico. Never will be. We are dealing with a people manifestly incapable of governing themselves. And do you know what happens with people who cannot govern themselves? That’s right. Others come in to govern for them.

Related Characters: Captain White (speaker)
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:

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The wrath of God lies sleeping. It was hid a million years before men were and only men have power to wake it. Hell aint half full. Hear me. Ye carry war of a madman’s making onto a foreign land. Ye’ll wake more than the dogs.

Related Characters: The Mennonite (speaker), Captain White
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:

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Captain White Character Timeline in Blood Meridian

The timeline below shows where the character Captain White appears in Blood Meridian. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
...is the one who mauled the Mexican bartender the day before, because, if he is, Captain White wants him to join an army of irregulars going to war against the Mexicans. The... (full context)
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...as the kid’s. He was poor, a drunkard, a frequenter of prostitutes. Then he met Captain White , who helped him rise like Lazarus and walk the path of righteousness. The kid... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Together, the kid and Sergeant Trammel ride back into Bexar, to the pretty hotel where Captain White keeps quarters. After completing and rereading a letter, the gray-haired and mustachioed Captain holds an... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
Captain White then asks the kid what he thinks of “the treaty” (presumably the Treaty of Guadalupe... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
Captain White then turns to his plans. He tells the kid that the U.S. will eventually take... (full context)
Fate Theme Icon
Religion and Ritual Theme Icon
...to them, warning that the United States Army under General Worth will jail all of Captain White ’s army at the river. In fact, he tells the three recruits to pray that... (full context)
Chapter 4
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Five days later, mounted on Earl’s horse, the kid rides out with Captain White ’s army of filibusters (people engaging in unauthorized warfare against a foreign country). They ride... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...hut is empty, they know from the hot coals inside that people must be near. Captain White instructs a sergeant to find them, as well as any food or water that may... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
The next day, Captain White surveys the desert with a brass telescope and spies what he thinks is a large... (full context)
Chapter 5
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
...that it is a man named Sproule, one of eight survivors of the massacre including Captain White . Sproule and the kid rest and discuss their injuries—Sproule has a wounded arm—before resuming... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Witness and Mercy Theme Icon
...out to them, Sproule trots after them. The apparent leader of the Mexicans, mounted on Captain White ’s horse, asks if the two are looking for the Indians, upon which several of... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
Racism and Partisanship Theme Icon
...strange reptiles, a leper, and a liquor-filled jar in which is floating the head of Captain White . The kid looks at the head, spits, and says that the Captain was no... (full context)
Warfare and Domination Theme Icon
...mission. He befriends a boy from Georgia, and together they talk about their plight, and Captain White ’s. The kid calls the Captain a fool. From the Georgian, the kid learns that... (full context)