No Country for Old Men

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  • 12 Dec 2012 at 11:28 pm #2674

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Martin – oh, I think the connection is very much there to be made – especially since in the runup to Moss’ missing the deer,  McCarthy lays on pretty thick what an expert he is with the gun he’s using.  I’ve always found that pretty funny, actually.

    Another possibility – consider that Chigurh wouldn’t actually kill a raptor, which is so much like he is – as, for example, Tobin remarks to the kid in Blood Meridian that no member of the gang would ever kill a wolf.

     


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    13 Dec 2012 at 7:52 am #2675

    Martin
    Member

    Rick – thanks.  I was trying to follow the raptor -on-raptor angle, but couldn’t take it any further. Your suggestion helps. Ben is beginning to pose challenges in his observations (he already knows more than his old man, just ask him). He was noting the theme of tracking trails of blood in NCFOM, a pretty good observation on his part, I thought.


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    13 Dec 2012 at 7:04 pm #2679

    Glass
    Member

    Interesting ideas. Great to see a Martin Zook post. As for Chigurh and the bird and Moss and the pronghorn, I believe both of these episodes are homologous with Michael (Robert DeNiro) and his one-shot rule in The Deer Hunter, the scaredness of the hunt and that sort of thing. A warrior code or something along those lines. Principles. Michael says, “You have to think about one shot. One shot is what it’s all about.” Michael has a deer in his sights at one point and then raises his rifle and misses the shot on purpose, maybe like Chigurh and the raptor on that bridge in NCFOM. There are other possible connections between these two works such as the coin toss in McCarthy and the Russian Roulette in Deer Hunter. Clem had some insightful ideas about this scene on the old Forum a few years ago. My two cents.


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    13 Dec 2012 at 8:19 pm #2680

    Martin
    Member

    Thanks.

    Here’s where Ben and I are at the moment.  Much of the plot of NCFOM is the hunt. Moss hunts the deer. Chigurh hunts Moss. Carson hunts Moss and Chigurh. Chigurh hunts Carson. Moss hunts Chigurh. Chigurh continues to hunt Moss. Whole lot of huntin’ goin’ on. Real predatory huntin’, not like around here where two rednecks leaning up against the back end of a pickup are said to be hunting.

    For all the hunting that’s going on, there’s not a lot of success, kind of like on the savvanah in Africa where he hunters make multiple unsuccessful strikes before killing their prey, more often than not in a grizzly scene.

    But there’s one guy who’s not a hunter. Bell, who is a shepherd.

    One of his sheep has done something real stoopid and Bell is trying to get him back in the fold of the community before he becomes figurative lunch in a wilderness ruled by hunters. It’s essentially the same world of Blood, except there is a bell in this world who sees light other than the alien illumination of Blood.


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    04 Jun 2014 at 11:27 pm #5457

    Glass
    Member

    “He never completely escaped the onion field.”

    The quote is from author Joseph Wambaugh (The Onion Field) on the 50th anniversary of the March 9, 1963, murder of LAPD Officer Ian Campbell. Wambaugh was speaking about Campbell’s partner Officer Karl Hettinger, who was able to get away from the two criminals who had earlier disarmed the two police officers, forced them into a vehicle and drove them to an onion field near Bakersfield, where Campbell was fatally shot in the face. Hettinger reportedly felt a lot of guilt for running from the scene and was haunted by it his entire life following the murder. The memorable quote reminds me quite a bit of NCFOM’s Sheriff Bell and his life-long guilt over his actions as a soldier in WW II.


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    03 Aug 2014 at 10:19 am #5733

    Mrednva
    Member

    Sorry, but thre is a mistake here. If you check the text of NCFOM, you’ll find no mention of hawk or raven, just a bird.


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    03 Aug 2014 at 10:45 am #5734

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Well, that will teach all us so called experts, especially us old ones, not to rely on our memories, won’t it?

    Here’s the hawk passage, though it has no bearing on Chigurh’s shooting at the unnamed bird:

    “Driving out 90 toward the turnoff at Dryden he came across a hawk dead in the road. He saw
    the feathers move in the wind. He pulled over and got out and walked back and squatted on
    his bootheels and looked at it. He raised one wing and let it fall again. Cold yellow eye dead
    to the blue vault above them.” (21?)

    I suspect this was the passage that we confused with the shooting scene – or, perhaps, with the scene in Raising Arizona wherein the bounty hunter shoots at a hawk. Regardless, given that it was “a large bird” I suggest that it was either a hawk or a large owl. Also, he misses it and hits the bridgerail.


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    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  Rick Wallach.
    15 Mar 2015 at 10:25 am #6684

    Glass
    Member

    Wallis Sanborn also suggests “it” could be an owl. (1)

    Reading Sanborn, and his comments on Moss shooting at the pronghorn, along with reading comments on this thread, made me wonder what, if any, significance there might be to the pronghorn seemingly getting hit by a bullet and then running off never to be seen again and Chigurh getting injured in the auto accident and limping off never to be seen again, like ghosts. Bell, too, in effect, limps away from the scene by giving up on sheriffery. I can’t quite come up with anything else save the similarities in what happens to the animal and Chigurh. Maybe Sanborn has made this connection and I haven’t gotten to that yet.

    1. Animals in the Fiction of Cormac McCarthy, p. 172.


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    15 Mar 2015 at 12:55 pm #6685

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Pete – well, since Wallis tells me he’s definitely coming to Memphis, you can ask him there. Meanwhile I’ll alert him to some byplay on his book and see if we can coax him out of the shadows and onto the forum for a dip o’ the toe.

    in addition to Chigurh getting hurt in the car accident, don’t forget that he also spends some time convalescing from being shot in the leg by Moss, leading to the memorable scene where he blows up the parked car to create a distraction in the drug store so he can steal some medications and bandages.

    Speaking of all of which, Friendo shed last week. He’s got five rattles now.


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    15 Mar 2015 at 2:26 pm #6686

    Glass
    Member

    Rick, that would be great to talk to Wallis in Memphis. I’d forgotten about Chigurh’s leg injury. And nice segue to Friendo, ha! Five rattles means five years old? Hard to believe.


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