Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" Book Review by Metro

Investigates if Cormac McCarthy's novel "No Country for Old Men" is a conservatist novel or a novel about conservatism.
# 150400 | 1,460 words | 0 sources | 2012 | NZ
Published on Feb 10, 2012 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis)

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This paper relates that, to judge if Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" is a conservatist novel or a novel about conservatism, one must understand that the philosophy of conservatism is wary of change and is interested in preserving old traditions in society. Next, the author looks at the concept of conservatism and its representation through Sheriff Bell, the postmodern aspects of the novel and their affects on the reading of Chigurh, the analysis of Chigurh as an ambiguous character, Bell's final dream in the novel and especially his waking up to the truth about society. Thereby, the paper concludes that "No Country for Old Men" is a novel about conservatism, and not a conservative novel.

From the Paper:

"Though Chigurh appears to be a postmodern creation, such is ambiguous for at the same time it is possible to understand him as a conservative fantasy as well. Chigurh is an apocalyptic figure who has come to cleanse the world of sin and promise a new start; a manifestation of conservative beliefs. Chigurh aims to set things right by hunting down Moss, and in many regards he is the lawman that Bell seems unable to be. At one point Bell even admits that Chigurh is needed in this world, for though he is bad he is still needed so that the system will work; an analogy for conservatism itself. Though there is no ambiguity to his actions, for he is honest, reliable and keeps to his word no matter what, there is still ambiguity for his character. Chigurh is both the evil that conservatism believes in, and a creation of the postmodern which conservatism is against, however he can still be read as a conservative fantasy after viewing his behaviour in terms of hunting down Moss and his warped sense of cleansing the world. This ambiguity reinforces the notion that the novel is about conservatism instead of being conservatist, because the philosophy of conservatism believes in clear notions of right and wrong, and not ambiguity in such determinations."

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