Confusing moment in "No Country"

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  • 14 Apr 2016 at 11:19 pm #8258


    Could someone explain if this moment had any significant meaning that I missed?

    It is the one disappointing moment in the movie for me because it sticks out so much. My wishful thinking wants there to be a better explanation than pure slap stick comedy fail.

    Any thoughts appreciated,

    cormac devine

    15 Apr 2016 at 10:13 am #8259

    Richard L.

    Such things are open to many interpretations, but here’s mine:

    When the opening chapter of NCFOM first appeared in a literary periodical, McCarthy gave it the title: “Agua”

    Spanish for water, of course, from Latin aqua, from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ekʷeh”. Classically as well as factually, water is necessary in its liquid form for life, and in literary symbol as life/spirit.

    During the day, in the sun, Moss is a hunter of animals, masculine, egoistic, out for his own gain. He lies to the dying man about having water. He goes for the money. He thrives in the sun. He misses his shot at the antelope only when a cloud momentarily blocks out the sun.

    At night, out of the sunlight, Moss transforms and grows, as moss only grows on the shady side of the tree, away from the sun. He becomes more altruistic, more compassionate–you might say, more aware of his feminine side. His conscience bothers him for not giving the man a drink of water, as if water was what the hombre needed instead of an ambulance and medical help. But we’re talking symbol here. At night, Moss sets out to take water to the man, as crazy as this would seem to him in the daylight.

    At night, Moss ceases to be the hunter and becomes the hunted. Yet there is growth in the novel as a whole (lost in the film, but that’s ok). He can’t even shoot Chirgurh at night. During the day, Moss picks up a hitchhiker thinking he might screw her. But at night, his conscience comes alive and he instead sees her vulnerability and treats her only with respect, compassion, and responsibility. At midnight, he altruistically dies fighting to save her.

    Moss’s comment about his mother that night, in the film, holding the water pitcher, is a movie cliché that reflects his altruistic abandonment of his egotistical, capitalistic, macho motives. It doesn’t seem out of place at all.

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