Success in “No Country For Old Men”




The portrayal of success is very hard to search for in a book such as, “No Country For Old Men” because it goes against the whole theme of the book which is good vs. evil. In the end, all the good guys die, which is spot on to true reality. It’s important to see this book incorporates its basis on what life actually is instead of tying a cheesy ending on to it. What the book is successful in doing is creating a very real and emotional sense to each individual character. McCarthy is able to do this by maintaining focus on only three characters known by the names of Bell, Chigurh, and Moss. The sheriff of the novel is Bell, who is after a serial killer known as Chigurh-chasing Moss. McCarthy captures Bell effectively (successfully) by telling us what it is like to be living in an era that has already moved on past his generation. It is a problem many of us face today as a society that has forwarded itself far beyond the 20th century. We are not reliant on our elders anymore and as the saying goes, “our children are our future.” Bell comes to a realization it is “he” that is the turtle in the race, and this time will not win. Times have changed. 

McCarthy is successful in creating his second character, Moss, on the level of morality. This is a character who stays true to his beliefs such as maintaining faithful to his wife in times of great trouble. In the Novel, Moss is away from his wife right from the beginning but keeps busy with other tasks. I remember one scene in the novel where a driver asks Moss if he “would like a ride in to town for a good night.” Moss proceeds to lift up his hand and expose his ring finger. Simple scenes such as this reflect every day situations I see as real, and much easier to connect to. 

The most important and final character McCarthy successfully portrays is Chigurh the serial killer. The reader is able to be shown visually through words the sick and twisted mind of the murderer. He provokes a different mind set which is interesting to perceive throughout the story. Something to the average person such as a “coin toss” is meaningless. But these actions will sometimes signify the killers next victim just for inconveniencing him in such a game.

I give credit to McCarthy to be able to pull of such different forms of character, how they reflect to one another, and the twists and turns each have to experience through association.