Study Guide

No Country for Old Men Violence

By Cormac McCarthy


At least one cover for No Country for Old Men is basically all red.Yeah, they might want us to think that this is a sunset, but we know better—this book is soaked in blood.

Cormac McCarthy doesn't bat an eyelash as he puts horrific event after horrific event down on the page to scare the bejeezus out of us.

We recommend wearing goggles and an apron while reading this book.

Questions About Violence

  1. Why does McCarthy show the violence in such gross detail? What purpose does it serve?
  2. Why does McCarthy make an exception when Llewelyn is killed? He is a major character, yet he is killed off-page, and very few gory details are given.
  3. Does Llewelyn commit violent acts? How are his actions described differently from Chigurh's?
  4. How do the sheriffs react to these violent crimes? Have they seen anything like them before?

Chew on This

In order to illustrate how terrible the Mexican drug trade is, McCarthy must be extremely graphic with his violence; otherwise, people may not take the issue seriously.

McCarthy chooses graphic details because he doesn't want to glamorize violence in the way many classic cowboys-and-Indians Westerns do.