Presenter Information

Marie-Reine PughFollow

Title

A Man of This Time: Memory and Sheriff Bell’s First-Person Narratives in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men

Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

Critics often focus on the violence in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. But the function of memory in Sheriff Bell’s first-person narratives has yet to be examined. Bell may claim to be defeated by the events of the story and the changing times, but the structure of the novel bespeaks a greater importance: his voice marks the beginning and ending of the novel, of each new chapter. His narratives reveal the struggle between his collective and personal memories. In the end, Bell is able to settle in a less conflicted place mediated by his closest relations—his family—where he can exist without overindulging in the destructive excesses of either extreme. Although an imperfect seer, he emerges from his struggles standing in the middle of the times, neither too old to understand the world or too young to see the past––“a man of this time.”

Copyright and Licensing of My Content

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Location

B150 JFSB

Start Date

19-3-2015 1:15 PM

End Date

19-3-2015 2:45 PM

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Mar 19th, 1:15 PM Mar 19th, 2:45 PM

A Man of This Time: Memory and Sheriff Bell’s First-Person Narratives in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men

B150 JFSB

Critics often focus on the violence in Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men. But the function of memory in Sheriff Bell’s first-person narratives has yet to be examined. Bell may claim to be defeated by the events of the story and the changing times, but the structure of the novel bespeaks a greater importance: his voice marks the beginning and ending of the novel, of each new chapter. His narratives reveal the struggle between his collective and personal memories. In the end, Bell is able to settle in a less conflicted place mediated by his closest relations—his family—where he can exist without overindulging in the destructive excesses of either extreme. Although an imperfect seer, he emerges from his struggles standing in the middle of the times, neither too old to understand the world or too young to see the past––“a man of this time.”