What does Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men suggest about society.My thesis is that Anton Chigurh is a chilling symbol of the evil side of humanity/society. The problem I'm having is...

What does Cormac McCarthy's novel No Country for Old Men suggest about society.

My thesis is that Anton Chigurh is a chilling symbol of the evil side of humanity/society. The problem I'm having is actually writing the essay. I have no clue about how to start and what to talk about in each paragraph. But what I do want to incorporate about society is how bad things happen to good people. I can find a lot of examples on that. I also wanted to talk about Anton because it seems as though he were God and made all the decisions in the book. My thoughts are really unorganized, so it's hard to think of what I'll be talking about paragraph by paragraph that is still related to my thesis.

Asked on by yolala

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vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

One approach you may want to consider is a standard five-paragraph essay (introduction, three body paragraphs, and conclusion). In the introduction and conclusion, you might want to focus on Sheriff Bell's discussions of the deterioration of society, culture, and morality. His ideas are very relevant to your own. In the "body" paragraphs, you might want to discuss some of Chigurh's own comments, as in his dialogue with the store clerk, Wells, and with Carla Jean. Here, for example, is some of his dialogue with Carla Jean when she pleads with him not to kill her:

When I came into your life your life was over. It had a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is the end. You can say that things could have turned out differently. That they could have been some other way. But what does that mean? They are not some other way. They are this way. You’re asking me that I second say the world. Do you see?

Yes, she said, sobbing. I do. I truly do.

Good, he said. That’s good. Then he shot her.

Part of what makes Chigurh such a chilling character is that he is so thoughtful and articulate. He is not simply a monster; he is a highly intelligent and well-spoken monster. Like Iago in Shakespeare's Othello, he is a very intelligent man who is also thoroughly evil.

 

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readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a good question. Essays can be hard, but you already have your thesis, which is the hardest part. In this sense, you are well on your way. What you need to do now is create supporting ideas for your thesis.

So, if your thesis is that Anton is a chilling symbol of the evils of humanity, then you need to ask yourself how do you know this. In other words, what examples can you furnish from the book.  These will be your supporting points.

For example, you can say that Anton kills whoever get in his way, no matter who they are. There are plenty examples of this - police officer, innocent bystanders, and the list goes on. Then as a second point, you may say that he seeks the money at all expense, even at the expense of his own body. So, when he gets wounded, it does not stop him. He is like an animal on a mission.  Finally, you may want to comment on his character as he does all of these evil things. There is little emotion or feeling, let alone compunction. In this sense, he is less than human.

These are all examples; I am sure that you will find many others.

 

 

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