No Country For Old Men Cormac Mccarthy English Literature Essay

Anton Chigurh is a character in the novel ‘No country for old Men’ was written by Cormac McCarthy. Chigurh is a psychopathic murderer who was hired to recover money from a drug deal that failed to succeed. However, eh later realizes that the money had been taken by another person called Llewely Moss and had gone out of the town with the money. He then tries to track Moss along a motel but Moss fooled him by making him believe that he is in a room next to where Chigurh is by keeping the money in vent. Chigurh then realizes a mighty hunter called Wells, whom he later kills after realizing that he wanted to strike a deal with Moss. He then ruthlessly tries to find where Moss is until he learns that he has been killed by other bandits form Mexico in a different motel. He then goes ahead to find Moss’s mourning wife and contemplates on whether to kill her or not by tossing a coin. On his way back, he gets involved in a serious accident that leaves him injured and his arm broke. He then pays a young boy to give him his T-shirt but leaves the accident scene before an ambulance comes (McCarthy, 12).

The title of the book was derived from William Butler’s poem ‘sailing to Byzantium’. The title therefore carries the theme of the book which is the direction of the contemporary world towards evil and immorality. McCarthy describes a world that is full of corruption and evil things, and very little goodness. The novel is dominated by stories of horrible crimes and unethical actions. The author portrays a contemporary world as a place where the evil is more than the good. This is the reason as to why the old men cannot fit in the modern world since they believe in order and balance of good and evil.

Just like most of his previous books, McCarthy’s novel records a sequence of brutal deaths along the border of Texas and Mexico. The author is well known for throwbacks and a cinematic novel writer which is most seen in No country for Old Men. The author portrays his knowledge by use of perfect idiomatic language.

Anton Chigurh in the novel ‘No country for old Men’

Anton Chigurh is they main antagonist in this novel. He plays a central role in that dominates the whole story by his brutal killings. His ability to kill many people is somehow disturbing and he is curious to do so. He does not struggle too much to kill someone and does not look worried after killing. Even though he commits horrible actions, he has some sense of intelligence his killing plans organized properly and all goes according to his plans. He has no emotions and kills without any affection. His actions indicate that he has no ability in comprehending human life. This can be seen from the way he takes away people’s lives and he does it ruthlessly throughout the novel. He had been hired to track money from a drug deal but ends up killing even those who had hired him and starts to look for money and make it his.

When he meets victims who do not have enough reasons to be killed, he tosses a coin to decide their fate. However, he has how own morals where he does not kill without a reason. However, eh assumes that he believes that the reasons for killing are determined by him and those that he wants to kill. In this case, the author represents him like someone who does not believe in any God since he behaves as of he has right to the lives of those he kills. The author has brought out his character like that of a Darwinian creature bearing a strong survival function. He is thereof a survivalist who lead a simple and plain life. It was not by accident that he was able to treat himself when his leg was shot. When he also got injured in a car crash, he did not wait for the ambulance to arrive. He behaved like someone who had all the ability to run his own life. He was well equipped to manage his won life and believed in living above all things (McCarthy, 68).

Factors that motivates the actions of Anton Chigurh

The actions of Anton Chigurh are motivated by his desire for honour which he believes comes with having money. Most of his killings are in his pursuit for money so that he can attain honour. At one point in the book, he asks Moss what was the need of following the rules that he followed if they did not lead him to good. He tries to do things as they are supposed to be done but he expects that he results will be in his favour. He explains to Moss why he let himself to be arrested was because he wanted to see whether he could free himself by acting willfully as he believed that it is possible. He concluded that it is possible for one to free himself by acting out of will but it would be a foolish action.

His lack of believe in God also motivates him to kill ruthlessly. This is seen where he tells Carla Jean that he has already given his words and he cannot change them. However, Carla tells him that he has the power to change the words of he wishes to but he says that even a non believer may find it necessary to make himself after God. He however maintains the stand that whatever has been done cannot be undone. Carla refers to this as blasphemy. He believes that he had the fate for the lives of his victims. This is the reason why he tosses a coin to determine whether to kill the person or not.

His pursuit for money was also another motivating factor for Anton Chirguh. He is chasing after money that had been obtained through a drug deal but Llewelyn Moss had escaped with it after picking it from an open field. In his search for moss, he encounters violent Mexicans that left him with a shot leg. But because he needed to achieve his mission of getting the money, he nursed his leg and continued with the search. At this moment, Chirguh could brutally kill anyone who crossed his ways since the motivating factor was to recover the money. He eventually killed those who had hired him and took the money for himself.

The Relationship that Chigurh had with other Characters in the Novel

Anton Chigurh has a cold relationship with others in the novels due to his brutality that makes others to fear him. When Bell learns that Chigurh is hunting for Moss and his wife, he runs to them to inform them of the danger that they are in. Moss disregards this and he ends up in trouble together with his wife. When the violence becomes intense, Sheriff Bell takes time to reexamine his ability in dealing with the brutality of Chigurh. Sheriff is a former law man and a product of informal system of honour that existed in the past generations. He develops doubt as the whether he is still fit for his work. This is because the violence represented by Chigurh demanded an equally brutal person (Raff, 7). The relationship that is between Anton Chigurh and other characters is therefore characterized by fear for his brutality. There are no incidences he is holding peaceful discussions with other people in the novel. This could have been so with those who had hired him to track the money but he also ended up killing them.

What Anton Chigurh represents in the Novel

The character Anton Chirguh represents violence in the whole novel. The novel is full of scenes of violence that is initiated by Chirguh. His killing actions are done sometimes with a mission while others are not. His life mission might be to kill who crosses his path in an uncompromising manner and decides on their death by tossing a coin. The victims of his violence are those involved in drug deals, those driving the transportation cars he steals, and others whom he meets on his pursuit missions. His actions are purely evil. He has evil believes and therefore acts according to his believes. The author, Cormac McCarthy, uses the character top represent violence in the modern country where old men who are not used to gun shots cannot survive (Lyons & O’Malley-Younger, 183).


The author of the novel, Cormac McCarthy, has used the icon of Anton Chigurh to represent some of the violent acts that are taking place in the modern countries. These actions are therefore a justification of the title of the book, No country for Old men, where whatever is happening in the country cannot support the old men. The novel indicates a country where people are just rushing and fighting, gunshots and car crashes. It is therefore hard for the old to survive in such a country. The country is characterized by killings, drugs deals, gun shots and a lot of brutality where no old man can survive.

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