The Ending of Cormac McCarthy’s “No Country for Old Men”

The film version:

Notice, at the very beginning of the clip, the strategic placement of the tree, and Tommy Lee Jones crooking his neck ever so slightly, not blinking, as if his fate is to, as it were, be dangled by the neck from that tree?

And the dream, metaphorically, is that of a lost father, and what the father gave the son, and the son’s subsequent aloneness, as his own death looms upon some future, as yet unknown, “tree”: My God, why have you forsaken me? The terror of the father’s uncanny absence and presence would somehow both be there, and not be there, at the end.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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