Is Wells a fraud?

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  • 31 Jan 2018 at 6:29 pm #10125

    Tony
    Member

    I’ve always gotten a hint of the exaggerator from Wells. His “charm hasn’t had much to do with my life” explanation leaves the door open to many alternatives. Indeed, tall tales are very survivable.

    But what caught my eye was his army career.

    He claims to Moss to be a lieutenant colonel in special forces.

    After his death, when Bell is investigating the hotel and the remains of Wells, he says to his deputy “Regular army. Fourteen years service”. One would think the police know the facts, even if they’re a step behind usually – but Bell being an ex army man himself would surely not say Regular army unless it believed it true. (Perhaps special forces service is not recorded in any way, however?)

    The character of Wells seems over confident. Cocky and full of pathos. I am not quite convinced he is who he tries to portray himself as, especially to Moss. Indeed, the events of the story bear this out. Nothing he claims gets achieved. If there is one thing about Chigurh, it is that he is a determinator who does not speak anything hollow, by comparison.

    In retrospect, Wells conduct in the investigation seems almost amateur in a way, bumbling around with a camera. Joking about the 13th floor to impress a gentleman hiring him to kill also seems questionable and simply fails. However, he does show good tracking skills, finding Moss. Bell’s info is probably correct. I wonder if the money he offers Chigurh is all he has? Not a huge amount, decent, by 1980 standards. One would think a busy hitman might accrue more.

    So I conclude he was an army colonel, but not special forces, and his arrogance is what gets him cut down by Anton (who simply sits and waits for Wells, “nobody expects that” – not even an expert?).

    Indeed, I believe the purpose of the character is to show arrogance and how reality, the world, altogether more serious forces than himself, can undercut it.

    Thoughts, friends?


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    • This topic was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  Tony. Reason: Added more info
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    31 Jan 2018 at 8:02 pm #10128

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Special forces is considered “regular army. They’re not like CIA agents, nor considered members of a clandestine service. Green Berets start out as volunteers and after passing an array of tough physical and mental tests are trained in, I believe it is, two special skills like, say, communications and explosives, or sniping and night fighting. But they’re still considered “regular army.” I couldn’t really tell from his behavior which specialties Wells was trained to perform, but dealing with deeply psychotic killers doesn’t seem to have been one of them.


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    01 Feb 2018 at 9:36 pm #10131

    Candy Minx
    Member

    What a coincidence. I was just downtown meeting an army buddy of mine and having a Bloody Mary….and he has always hated NCFOM…but has agreed to watch it again since he has been listening to me write about it for the last few months. He and I surprised each other today by both saying the most aggravating part of the whole movie…is Wells getting killed by Chigurh. Not just killed…but he doesn’t even put up a fight? He walks into the hotel and lets Chigurh sneak up around the stairs on top of him? What?

    The only thing I could think of…was perhaps because Chigurh had just killed the desk clerk…Wells assumed he wouldn’t show his face in the hotel again. In another scene sheriffs discuss the gall of Chigurh returning to the same hotel to kill again. I’m just pissed off as hell that he doesn’t have a fight to Chigurh and it is both funny, scary and annoying that he thinks Chigurh is insane and tells him so. Maybe he thinks that is how to get under Chigurh’s skin ha ha ha! I don’t think it meant anything to Chigurh.

    Other wise…I adore Wells and the time he is in the movie….I love what his character brings to the film and have written a fair bit about him recently.


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    01 Feb 2018 at 10:30 pm #10132

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    La Minx: you know, your comments about not getting to see them fight just reminded me – ahh, you know I love to free-associate wildly – of that sublime moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the crowd in the Cairo marketplace parts and the huge swordsman emerges, twirls his scimitar a few times and licks his lips. You think you’re all set up to watch a classic battle of sword versus Indiana Jones’ bullwhip – and then Jones just pulls his pistol out and shoots the guy.

    Coda: Indiana wouldn’t have liked Friendo very much, would he?


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    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by  Rick Wallach.
    01 Feb 2018 at 10:45 pm #10133

    Candy Minx
    Member

    Hahaha I love that too.

    I guess it’s the hockey fan in me. I mean it’s not that I want them to have to fight…but I mean it’s borders on Wells being resigned. It’s like suicde-by-Chigurh or something. Kick the gun, jump out of the way push him down the stairs…self defense on some level.

    But you’ve got a good point…maybe the scene was like Indiana Jones…Wells thinks he can insult and out talk Chigurh…and Chigurh is “not gonna play” and just gets it over with.


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    01 Feb 2018 at 10:49 pm #10134

    Candy Minx
    Member

    Stagg says…that Wells is way too focused on the bag with the money and Moss. And Chigurh is like having a lamp drawing in the moth.


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    02 Feb 2018 at 5:26 pm #10137

    Tony
    Member

    Thanks for clearing up the army question I had, Rick.

    I like Wells’ thoughts when he is caught. Weighing up going for Chigurh, and realising he couldn’t close the distance even decades ago.

    The mention of men dying at his knees sounds interesting. A war crime, perhaps.

    The calendar he finds is significant, and he regrets not paying no heed to it.

    How did he get caught so easily? Why did he focus on Moss when his job was to kill Chigurh? Suppose that’s answered when Moss figures out Wells would rather deal with him, than with Chigurh. But Wells knew Chigurh wasn’t going away. I wonder what his plan was?

    Chigurh’s “this brings past events into question” comment to him, either means their previous job, or a continuation of his explanation that Wells took a choice and ended up where he ended up for that reason – a sure example of Chigurh exposing Wells, and no doubt in his mind, finding him foolish and incorrect.


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    02 Feb 2018 at 11:41 pm #10140

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Tony:

    My colleague and friend Wallis Sanborn (The American Novel of War) have worked together over the past year or so on the whole question of how McCarthy represents the military, war, and military veterans in his work. Wallis is of the opinion – and I think he substantiated it well – that Chigurh was also a military veteran. I know Wallis plans to publish his work soon so I’ll let the matter ride for the time being. However, Wallis’ ideas do raise the possibility that “past events” might also include knowing each other from their service days. Certainly, given a war that was all but entirely criminal from its inception as an American conflict and rife with horrifying examples of criminal conduct on America’s part, it’s not far fetched to think of Wells as a “war criminal” veteran.

    One of my salient points in the three presentations we did together (first at the American Popular Culture conference last February, then at the IASA conference in Laredo in July, and finally at the Society’s Austin conference over this past Labor Day) was that William Calley was supposed to be the archetypal scapegoat for US war crimes in Vietnam but our crimes were so egregious that Calley and the exposure of My Lai couldn’t carry off the weight of our brutality. If you view Wells, and probably Chigurh, as “emanations,”: if you will, of our collective martial guilt, I think you get a pretty good sense of where No Country was really going on these points.


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    10 Feb 2018 at 1:43 pm #10166

    Tony
    Member

    Thanks Rick, that’s fascinating. Do let us know when Wallis publishes. I’d agree that some of the characters are representative. Wells representing the armed forces perhaps on the topic of Vietnam, you could draw parallels between his cocksure attitude and seemingly superior resources (the man who hires him certainly gives him a nice budget, though we don’t even see him use his resources effectively) yet he’s blindsided and defeated by a more intelligent and resourceful foe – the pathos alone is remarkably similar of on a smaller scale, especially with omens such as the calendar.

    Indeed, with that kind of reading, you could go all out – Wells as military, the drug trade is certainly condemned, the failed police, Moss as everyman or lower class trying and failing to elevate out of their situation.

    I find it interesting how so many aspects of the country, the military industrial complex, fail in the novel with the background of the vicious drug war. It certainly makes the very title of the novel sparkle.


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    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Tony.
    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  Tony.
    17 Feb 2018 at 10:20 am #10189

    Candy Minx
    Member

    One of the many insane questions about Wells and the relationship with Chigurh is something I have in my paper and writing. I’ve put a small excerpt of my book/paper on my blog as it relates quite a bit to questions surrounding Wells.

    When I presented my paper last week….just before I started…I asked the attendees….”When did Moss die?”

    No one knew….here is the answer plus a couple other things…

    http://gnosticminx.blogspot.com/2018/02/when-did-moss-die.html


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