No Country for Old Men

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  • 15 Mar 2015 at 6:43 pm #6688

    efscerbo
    Member

    I heard a ways back that “Chigurh” may have an etymological association with the Latin for surgeon, “chirurgus” (which is itself Greek in origin). (And there’s an archaic English word, “chirurgeon”, meaning the same thing.) A friend of mine passed this on to me, though I don’t know if he got it from somewhere else. I always liked the resonance with the scenes where Chigurh gets hurt, that somehow the very essence of evil is that it can be hurt, but can always self-heal. You can scorch the snake, but not kill it, so to speak.

    (I kinda doubt this, because the root isn’t quite the same, but it’s interesting nonetheless. And it makes me wonder if there are other etymological associations those more learned than I would see in the name.)


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    15 Mar 2015 at 9:58 pm #6689

    I seem to recall the Coens asked McCarthy about the source of the name Chigurh, to which Cormac shrugged and said, “I thought it was a cool name.” It’d be interesting if the “surgeon” aspect of it somehow trickled into his mind from the ether, especially in the rewriting stage (Chigurh was originally named Ralston in McCarthy’s draft script).


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    16 Mar 2015 at 12:58 pm #6690

    efscerbo
    Member

    Ha, that’s great, Stephen. I don’t believe it for a second. Much like his Oprah interview where she asked him about the time 1:17 in The Road and he said it was just a number that popped into his head. Or when James Franco asked McCarthy about CoG, “Why did you write a book about this subject?”, and McCarthy responded, “I don’t know, James, probably some dumb ass reason.” McCarthy seems to be one cagey mofo when you try to pin him down. It’s impressive, actually.

    Ralston? Wow. Who knew. Interesting bit, thanks.


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    16 Mar 2015 at 4:54 pm #6691

    Glass
    Member

    “Ralston.” Hmmm. I recall “Halston” for some reason. Unsure now. The connection to “surgeon” is intriguing indeed. There’s been some interesting ideas discussed here connecting the name Chigurh to the drug mogul Jimmy Chagra. Richard L. has written some really compelling stuff about that.


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    25 Mar 2015 at 6:47 pm #6732

    efscerbo
    Member

    Hey Peter,

    Sorry for the delayed response. I looked up Richard’s stuff on Chigurh and Chagra. That’s super interesting. Thanks for directing my attention to it. (And thanks Richard for writing it and leaving it up. It’s great.)

    Ed


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    10 May 2015 at 1:17 pm #7088

    gbishop
    Member

    Martin: Rick – thanks. Hadn’t thought of that. But what Ben is really driving at is the significance of Chigurh, otherwise a deadeye shot, missing the bird. It brings to mind Moss’s opening scene where he plays the roll of the hunter and misses his quarry. Not sure the reader is supposed to connect the two, but given McCarthy’s skills, hard not to note the data points.

    I just can’t connect them.

    Hello Martin and other members of this thread.
    I know this thread is very old but I came across it online and I wanted to contribute. About the raven, it is to my understanding that the raven, which in mythology often represents death, omen, prophecy, fate, predestination, etc, and the fact that Chigurh can’t shoot it, represents that even Chigurh cannot escape death or fate. Chigurh relies on fate throughout the book/film, what with the coin tosses and his certainty that the money will be delivered to him (and for you Cormac fanatics, this raises an interesting parallel with the coin slug metaphor that the great aunt brings up to John Grady in All the Pretty Horses, page 230-231 in my copy). However, it is a little unexpected that Chigurh gets hit by a car in the end, since it seems like he thinks he is the one in control. Just my thoughts.


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