The real is perhaps the most ambiguous term in critical discourse, and has come to represent a host of investigations into the limit of language as an expressive vehicle in the face of an immaculate silence. As presented in McCarthy's novel, the real in fact works beyond such theological understandings to move through and past Lacanian models and into aesthetic theories of truth and the nature of the artwork. The writings of Alain Badiou allow us to grasp more concretely the deployment of the real in The Crossing, specifically Badiou's understanding of the dialectic in the manufacture of meaning and the role of the poetic enunciation in relationship to the revelation of truth. A close reading of the key structuring element of The Crossing, the Mexican folksong of the corrido, reveals how an artistic act can create the world in which it is performed, and how the resulting work of art may be the only thing, in the end, that can be called real.

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