Cormac McCarthy

No Country for Old Men

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No Country for Old Men Important Quotes

1. And he told me that he had been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was goin to hell. Told it to me out of his own mouth. I don’t know what to make of that. I surely don’t. I thought I’d never seen a person like that and it got me to wonderin if maybe he was some new kind.” (Chapter 1, p. 3)

Sheriff Bell tells the reader about the only man he was responsible for sending to the gas chamber: a man who murdered his 14 year-old girlfriend. Sheriff Bell directly addresses the reader here, as he does at the beginning of each chapter in the novel. In this passage, Sheriff Bell reveals his belief that the people he encounters seem to be a new breed—men without conscience or remorse. He encounters true evil and doesn’t understand it. He reveals himself to be an old-fashioned, but kind and well-intentioned, man with abundant common sense and strong values. This opening passage indicates a Texas dialect and establishes the direct, no-nonsense, homey tone of the story with Sheriff Bell as its protagonist.

2. What do you say to a man who by his own admission has no soul? Why would you say anything? I’ve thought about it a good deal. But he wasn’t nothin compared to what was comin down the pike.” (Chapter 1, pp. 3-4)

Sheriff Bell recognizes the evil before him, but is baffled by it. This foreshadows the confrontations to come as the story unfolds, with an even more baffling, wicked person.

3. But there is another view of the world out there and other eyes to see it and that’s where this is goin. It has done brought me to a place in my life I would not of thought I’d of come to. Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction and I don’t want to confront him. I know he’s real. I have seen his work. I walked in front of…

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