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No Country for Old Men’s Anton Chigurh

It all started “along the bloody frontier between Texas and Mexico” (McCarthy, 2007, page 1) when a drug buy operation went bad and some 3 people were found dead and one half dead. Two (2) million dollars were left in a suitcase close to the third victim under a tree and millions worth of drugs left at the back of a pickup truck. If only Llewelyn Moss left the money alone and didn’t let greed rule, a lot of lives would’ve been spared from a silent, ruthless, deadly, smart and creative killer known as Anton Chigurh, who was hired to retrieve that money. Anton Chigurh Anton Chigurh has a set of eyes that are empty and emotionless.

Getting a chance to look into his eyes would bring shivers running down your spine and spreading to your entire body. They instill fear in anyone who looks into them. McCarthy (2007), in his book No Country for Old Man, described Anton Chigurh’s eerie eyes through Sheriff Tom Bell’s narration as follows: “They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. I dont know what them eyes was the windowsto and I guess I’d as soon not know. But there is another view of the world out there and othereyes to see it and that’s where this is goin. It has done brought me to a place in my life I would not of thought I’d of come to.

Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction and I dont want to confront him. I know he’s real. I have seen his work. I walked in front of those eyes once. I wont do it again. I wont push my chips forward and stand up and go out tomeet him”(page 2) With this being said however, it is still quite difficult to see through Chigurh’s eyes and read through his soul because he seemed to have had the glass of his windows either tinted black or it has gone opaque throughout his many experiences in life leading to his transformation into a heartless cold blooded murderer.

Anton Chigurh is a ruthless criminal who gets the job done whatever the cost may be to him. One incident that proves this is when the deputy who was checking Chigurh in the office was on the phone talking to Lamar and giving an account of the capture of Chigurh. Anton Chigurh was standing in the corner but his hands were cuffed behind his back while the deputy sat down on a chair and even put his feet up. He was confident that everything was going on the way things are when you capture a criminal and have him cuffed because he can’t do anything to harm you or cause further trouble.

But while he was describing what he has recovered from Chigurh, “he had some sort of thing on him like one of them oxygen tanks for emphysema or whatever. Then he had a hose that run down the inside of his sleeve and went to one of them stunguns like they use at the slaughterhouse. ”(page 2). The deputy had no idea that his life was about to be taken by a merciless, emotionless man who has absolutely no regard for life.

This incident would make you really wonder how a man can decide on taking another man’s life in this very brutal manner and even though he got hurt in the process, would endure whatever level of pain he would get into and act very casually and as if nothing happened: “He dropped his cuffed hands over the deputy’s head and leaped into the air and slammed both knees against the back of the deputy’s neck and hauled back on the chain. They went to the floor. The deputy was trying to get his hands inside the chain but he could not. Chigurh lay there pulling back on the bracelets with his knees between his arms and his face averted.

The deputy was flailing wildly and he’d begun to walk sideways over the floor in a circle, kicking over the wastebasket, kicking the chair across the room. He kicked shut the door and he wrapped the throwrug in a wad about them. He was gurgling and bleeding from the mouth. He was strangling on his own blood. Chigurh only hauled the harder. The nickelplated cuffs bit to the bone. The deputy’s right carotid artery burst and a jet of blood shot across the room and hit the wall and ran down it. The deputy’s legs slowed and then stopped. He lay jerking. Then he stopped moving altogether. Chigurh lay breathing quietly holding him.

When he got up he took the keys from the deputy’s belt and released himself and put the deputy’s revolver in the waistband of his trousers and went into the bathroom. He ran cold water over his wrists until they stopped bleeding and he tore strips from a handtowel with his teeth and wrapped his wrists and went back into the office. He sat on the desk and fastened the toweling with tape from a dispenser, studying the dead man gaping up from the floor. When he was done he got the deputy’s wallet out of his pocket and took the money and put it in the pocket of his shirt and dropped the wallet to the floor.

Then he picked up his air-tank and the stungun and walked out the door and got into the deputy’s car and started the engine and backed around and pulled out and headed up the road“(McCarthy, 2007, page 2). Another clear manifestation that this man truly needs serious help was when soon after he has gotten away in the deputy’s car, he pulled over another vehicle on the interstate that only boarded a single driver and asked him to pull over and approached him carrying the oxygen-tank type apparatus. He asked the man to step away from the vehicle a couple of times and when he did, he just “placed his hand on the man’s head like a faith healer.

The pneumatic hiss and click of the plunger sounded like a door closing. The man slid soundlessly to the ground, a round hole in his forehead from which the blood bubbled and ran down into his eyes carrying with it his slowly uncoupling world visible to see. Chigurh wiped his hand with his handkerchief” (page 2) and merely uttered coldly that he just didn’t want the man to get blood on the vehicle and went on to get on with his business or mission which was, to locate and recover the bag of money that had a tracker which he had gotten control of the other end of the tracking device.

Clearly, two innocent people have lost their lives because they have stood in the way of him accomplishing his mission of retrieving the bag of money because he was hired to do this job. One more troubling thing about Chigurh is that on his quest to recover the money and he happens to come across innocent civilian who show signs that they seem terrified of him after looking into his eyes, he would ask them questions.

When he doesn’t get the answer that he likes or he gets a feeling that they would somehow alert the authorities or confirm to authorities that they have seen him, he would put the fate of their lives in their hands by flipping a coin and asking them to call it. If they happen to call the right side of the coin, he would spare their lives however if they don’t then he would kill them heartlessly either with his cattle gun that fires a cylinder from a hose connected to that oxygen tank containing compressed air that he carries along all the time and uses to destroy cylinder locks prior to killing his prey or a shotgun with a silencer.

He would never bend his set of twisted morals even if his innocent prey who just happens to be at the wrong. After figuring out later on that his employer was trying to get one on him, he continued on with his quest and found out about the identity of the man who took off with the money bag and headed on towards Llewelyn Moss’ trailer. All he go there was some bills on the floor because the trailer had been empty. He went on over to where Moss worked and asked around.

Eventually he got to the same motel that Moss checked into using the tracker and killed 3 mexicans who were checked into the room adjacent to moss’ room just because they had weapons and attempted to harm him so he shot them all point blank and left. After two more incidents wherein there were people running after Chigurh with the aim of killing him, anger and greed set into him as well. He went to the office of his employer and shot him dead because he sent out a couple of men to kill him. He then went on to searching for the money so he can keep it for himself.

Chigurh knew that he was closer to where the person holding the money was so with the use of the trackers’ transponder, he was able to check into the next hotel that Moss checked into. He killed the receptionist on the way to attempting to kill Moss. When he got up to Moss’ room, Moss already found out about the tracker and pulled it out of the bag and left it on the table. Chigurh used the cattlegun to shoot open the door and ended up in some sort of shootout with Moss. They both managed to hurt each other but Chigurh still didn’t get the chance to get a hold of the money.

One revealing confession Chigurh gave was when he found out his old colleague, Wells, was sent off to kill him but he got to him first and had a brief discussion with him prior to killing him and his employer. Prior to shooting his shot gun with a silencer he had a slight discussion with Wells. Like he needed to tell his story: “Chigurh looked out the window, the shotgun across his knee. Getting hurt changed me, he said. Changed my perspective. I’ve moved on, in a way. Some things have fallen into place that were not there before. I thought they were, but they werent.

The best way I can put it is that I’ve sort of caught up with myself. That’s not a bad thing. It was overdue” , “It started before that, he said. I didnt realize it at the time. When I went down on the border I stopped in a cafe in this town and there were some men in there drinking beer and one of them kept looking back at me. I didnt pay any attention to him. I ordered my dinner and ate. But when I walked up to the counter to pay the check I had to go past them and they were all grinning and he said something that was hard to ignore.

Do you know what I did? I ignored him. I paid my bill and I had started to push through the door when he said the same thing again. I turned and looked at him. I was just standing there picking my teeth with a toothpick and I gave him a little gesture with my head. For him to come outside. If he would like to. And then I went out. And I waited in the parking lot. And he and his friends came out and I killed him in the parking lot and then I got into my car. They were all gathered around him. They didnt know what had happened.

They didnt know that he was dead. One of them said that I had put a sleeper hold on him and then the others all said that. They were trying to get him to sit up. They were slapping him and trying to get him to sit up. An hour later I was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy outside of Sonora Texas and I let him take me into town in handcuffs. I’m not sure why I did this but I think I wanted to see if I could extricate myself by an act of will. Because I believe that one can. That such a thing is possible. But it was a foolish thing to do.

A vain thing to do”, “It’s not the same, Chigurh said. You’ve been giving up things for years to get here. I dont think I even understood that. How does a man decide in what order to abandon his life? We’re in the same line of work. Up to a point. Did you hold me in such contempt? Why would you do that? How did you let yourself get in this situation? ”, “He did close his eyes. He closed his eyes and he turned his head and he raised one hand to fend away what could not be fended away. Chigurh shot him in the face.

Everything that Wells had ever known or thought or loved drained slowly down the wall behind him. His mother’s face, his First Communion, women he had known. The faces of men as they died on their knees before him. The body of a child dead in a roadside ravine in another country. He lay half headless on the bed with his arms outflung, most of his right hand missing. Chigurh rose and picked up the empty casing off the rug and blew into it and put it in his pocket and looked at his watch. The new day was still a minute away.

He went down the back stars and crossed the parking lot to Wells’ car and sorted out the doorkey from the ring of keys Wells carried and opened the door and checked the car inside front and rear and under the seats. It was a rental car and there was nothing in it but the rental contract in the doorpocket. He shut the door and hobbled back and opened the trunk. Nothing. He went around to the driver side and opened the door and popped the hood and walked up front and raised the hood and looked in the engine compartment and then losed the hood and stood looking at the hotel”((McCarthy, 2007, pages 100-103).

This somewhat slightly explained why Chigurh has turned emotionless. Everyone turns out to be a different person after getting hurt and looking at how ruthless he has become, he must have really gone through several painful experiences or incidents in life that has made him harder than a rock. He has channelled his energy to shutting out every emotion and just taking his job seriously making no exceptions because he probably doesn’t have any more loved ones living and only has his crooked principles to keep him going.

So Chigurh now just lives to get the job done no matter what the cost would be because he has no family members living that could be used as a bargaining tool with him. He can endure and can handle any kind of physical pain now because emotionally, he is dead. He never says more than he needs to and he’s a genius at his trade, which is unfortunately criminal in nature. He is truly the symbol or character for pure evil in a way that you can’t imagine anyone else could be. References McCarthy, C. (2007). No Country for Old Men. Vintage Books.

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