Morality In Cormac Mccarthy's No Country For Old Men

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Cormac McCarthy’s novel, No Country For Old Men, possess a unique writing style focuses the reader’s attention on the physical aspects of the novel in the absence of thoughts, a unique point of view that limits the reader 's perspective. Due to McCarthy’s focus on the physical aspects of everything, it is almost as if he forces his readers to put everything they know regarding morals and ethics aside, and forge a new morality as well as question their own ethics as they read on. The first character the readers are introduced to is Sheriff Bell, and he is giving a monologue in which he speaks about the past, these monologues continue throughout the novel at the beginning of each chapter. McCarthy tends to avoid moral elements within the novel…show more content…
This suggests the idea that violence is the one thing that can be relied on due to its unwavering existence. Violence is what separates the strong from the weak, and the existing from the nonexisting. This goes towards the concept of “black and white” morality, as it develops its own set of laws. “Black and white” morality is a concept in which the belief in a universal law contributes to the idea that right is to wrong, as black is to white. Violence is what can be seen, what is not seen is disregarded. Chigurh rejects what he cannot see, and goes after what he does see: violence yields power. Not only does he follow violence, but it is something he worships such as that he does what the rules of violence tell him to do. This can be seen when he kills Carla Jean. Back to the concept of the coin toss-- she is technically given a chance to avoid death, but in reality her death is inevitable, as the rules of violence make her responsible for what her husband, Llewelyn Moss, did not do. This is important for the readers to consider as they forge their own morality- the readers must recognize that it is not them, but rather their circumstances that carve their own morality and ethics. From the perspective of morality, Chigurh is viewed as a ruthless, serial killer, but through the use of futile violence, it can be argued that he…show more content…
He is the one character in the book who is truly amoral, as he is driven by money and greed. Towards the end of the novel, Moss had an encounter with Chigurh in which he was given an offer. Chigurh proposed that Moss gives the money he had stolen back to him, Carla Jean lives, but he kills Moss. Or, if he refuses, he’ll kill Carla Jean. This is a significant event within the novel as this offer puts all his wants in one hand: the money, Carla Jean’s survival, and his own survival, and therefore forces him to put his priorities in order. Although, he is unable to keep any of his wants when he refuses the offer and threatens Chigurh. Moreover, it is then revealed that this decision was not driven by his desire to protect Carla Jean, but rather the money in his possession. This is shown when he tells Carla Jean, “With you gone, and I don’t have the money, he can’t touch me, but I can sure touch him.” After this, Moss proceeds with his actions of pursuing Chigurh. Through this decision, it is clear that he has prioritized his want for revenge and excess wealth over the safety of the woman he loves. This could essentially lead readers to question what they, themselves would do if they were placed in a similar situation. Of course, many would say that they would sacrifice themselves for the sake of their loved ones, is that their true desire? It is possible that many people would act in the way Moss did-

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