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Themes of No Country for Old Men Essay

In this essay, M. D. will analyze the roles and choices the main characters made while relating them to the main theme of good versus evil and fate versus free will in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. ) “Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no belief in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A person’s path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly.

And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning. ” (Page 259) This graphic violent novel is about a man who, upon finding trucks filled of drugs, dead men, and 2 million dollars, chooses to pocket the money where he is later seen at the crime scene and his hunted through out the novel. By taking the money is fate is sealed as a psychotic killer chases him through out the west coast border and Mexico to retrieve the money, and kill anyone who stands in his way. The novel has an underlining of fate versus free will and good versus evil.

It can be argued that it was fate vs. free will that made him take the money, and fate versus free will that made Sheriff Bell become the protector, or Chigurh, become the sociopath that he was. This novel touches upon whether or not the people in the world can stop the evils around them or whether they can help those who do not wish to be helped. The main character who finds the 2 million dollars and keeps it is Llewelyn. Married to Carla Jean, he went out hunting one evening and stumbled upon a disturbing scene of murder, death, and drugs.

He unconsciously signed his own death wish when he decides to explore the disaster rather than calling the police, like he should have done. When he finds the 2 million dollars, he keeps and knows that his life will never be as it was when he is seen at the scene of the drug dealing gone wrong. He, and his wife, will always be running, but he takes the money anyways. This decision can be analyzed in different ways. In a theme of good versus evil, he would be the devils advocate. He helps the bad by hiding and spending this money while jeopardizing the only family he has.

In the novel, Llewlyn is depicted as the protagonist that should survive in the end with his wife. McCarthy has created a genius plot due to the fact, the reader should dislike Llewlyn. His only good trait is his good luck that keeps him alive during most of the novel, and the love he has for his wife. Other than that, he is a greedy man who thinks he is the fittest in Freud’s world, when, in fact, he is the low dog in the survival list. He deludes the reader and himself that he can handle himself and keep him and his wife out of harms way when he clearly could not.

In the theme fate versus free will, for Llewelyn he chose giving him free will, but by choosing, he sealed the fate of all the others that would meet him and get in the path of Chigurh. Chigurh never had fate or free will; he is the constant in the equation of the innocent people’s life. He will kill and never think twice about it. Only the coin he flips could change his decision, even then they never had a choice, it was all up to fate, a destiny that Llewelyn created for them.

Sheriff Bell is the hero in the story that in the end does not succeed. He learns that not everyone wishes to be saved and times are changing pace and he can no longer keep up. His mission was to save Llewelyn and his wife from getting killed by the executioner chasing them. He is the good in the good versus evil, and in the end good does not prevail. Evil, even after being in a car crash that should have ended Chigurh’s life, lives on to kill another day, while Sheriff Bell retires, losing faith in his self.

McCarthy’s evil winning over good is a twist on the classic stories of the hero winning in the end and evil forever gone while the characters lives happily ever after. His story of one person chosing wrong in a situation and ending up in so many deaths that never are avenged is brillient because he keeps the novel relatable to the real world we see on the news every night. He does not sugar coat and evil and lets readers understand that even the good can make a horrible choice and only your free will, which was your decision, is the path way to the fate provided to you.


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