No Country for Old Men | Study Guide

Cormac McCarthy

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No Country for Old Men | Character Analysis


Ed Tom Bell

Bell has conservative views, and he comments on the changing mores of the times. He sees the people of Terrell County as a flock who need his protection. He is more interested in protecting people than chasing criminals. Bell is the only character who has an overview of the devastation Chigurh leaves behind. He also has enough experience with ordinary crime to recognize true evil in Chigurh.

Llewelyn Moss

Moss's father says the Vietnam war affected Moss: "They'd all done things over there that they'd just as soon left over there." Moss is a good shot and a good tactician, but chance and a bad decision set him on a collision course with Chigurh. He has foresight enough to know how much trouble the money will cause, but he is too impulsive to resist taking it.

Anton Chigurh

Anton Chigurh is seen as a "prophet of destruction," and at times he verges on the supernatural: he is indifferent to pain and implacable in pursuit of his prey. But Chigurh is human; he can be injured, and he can be thwarted at gunpoint. His most puzzling quality is his belief system: he believes certain people are fated to die at his hands. So although he murders people, he views himself not as a compulsive killer but as the impersonal agent of fate.

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