ABSTRACT

Scholars debate whether Anton Chigurh, the villain of No Country for Old Men, is a personification of neoliberal capitalism or motivated by philosophical obsessions with death and fate. This article argues for the philosophical Chigurh, who among five military veterans in the novel seems least assimilated to markets and the logic of moneymaking. The article explores connections between war trauma and fixation upon mortal fate, as well as the novel’s themes of military honor and atavistic violence. The author’s argument re-specifies McCarthy’s critique of neoliberalism in the novel, which appears in the limited moral imaginations of other characters who refuse or otherwise fail to conceptualize a killer without economic gain motives.

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