In the novel No Country for Old Men, written by Cormac McCarthy, a perversion of the American dream is presented as the relinquishment of power. Power is defined as the influence one has over people and in McCarthy’s novel he demonstrates three ways to posses this: money, authority, and the ability to strike fear into the hearts of others.
Every thing is swallowed by a money-induced apathy lately, leaving nothing else of any importance. Moss, a main character in the novel, uses his new found wealth as a tool to manipulate bystanders into helping him get what he needs. In most cases people are hesitant at first to help this distressed looking man, but as soon as he waves a hundred dollar bill or two there are no more questions asked: Excuse me, he said. Leaning against the chainlink fence. His bloody footprints on the walk behind him like clues in an arcade. Excuse me.
They were stepping off the curb into the roadway to go around him. Excuse me I wondered if you all would sell me a coat. They didnt stop till they were past him. Then one of them turned. What’ll you give? He said. (p. 117)
Money is power, and with this in mind many people do not see or simply just do not care about the people who are affected by their action. As long as the outcome has a nicely figured income it is all the same to them. When Llewellyn Moss stumbles across a leather briefcase containing the better part of 2 million dollars, a payoff intended for some Mexican dope-runners, his life takes a turn for the worst. He’s just too dumbfounded to realize. During a shoot out with the opposing parties, two of mosses bullets pierced threw an old woman’s second floor apartment window blowing her brains out on the back of her rocking chair. When Moss is presented with photographs of the woman he denies the fact that he could have ever done this and says, “You’re full of...