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Dec 4, 2007, 8:08:19 PM12/4/07
to Readers Anonymous
I ripped through this book in just under a day. I think it's
fantastic. The questions I'm going to post below assume you've read
the whole book, so if you haven't finished yet you may not want to
read ahead as I'll probably give stuff away.

I'm not going to talk about Chigure yet because I have a feeling if I
start writing about him I won't stop. Instead I'm going to start with
Bell and Moss. I had an argument with a friend who saw the movie
about Bell. He believed that Bell was getting old and that his
disdain for green hair and kids with "bones in their noses" and his
shock and dismay with what the world is coming to is simply an
extension of his age. His point was that old people have been
complaining about how the world is going to hell since there have been
old people. In other words, that Bell's opinion doesn't carry much
weight. I disagreed.

I mean, Belle is getting old and I think there is some of the grousing
and griping with age to his argument, but I think there's a real
tension between that and the scope and horror of crime in the modern
age. It's easy to point to Chigure as the prime example of the trend
that Bell is attempting (and failing) to combat, but I think some
important things happen that encourage us to look further.

For example, Moss is killed not by Chigure, but by the mexicans. Moss
is found by Carson Wells as well. In other words despite being pretty
intelligent about his attempts to run, Moss is simply not smart enough
to outwit *any* of the interested parties. Bell is similarly
impotent. At one point Carson Wells says that not only is he not
worried about Bell, he doesn't even think about him. He's simply not
effectual enough to even be a concern. Bell himself says that if he
were a threat he'd have been dead long ago. So, he might be getting
old, but I think he also happens to be right. Crime is worse now than
it had been and there simply isn't anything good people can really do
to combat it.

I also think it's interesting that two major mistakes Moss made were
in regards to mercy. He brings water back to the ravine and he fails
to kill chigure when he has the opportunity even though, he had
previously thought to himself that he'd certainly have to kill someone
before the issue was done with.

Bell says at one point that he would have to give up his own soul to
catch chigure and that it's simply not something he can do. I thought
it was a pretty telling line. I mean, how can a society combat
criminals with the unerring will to do the horrific. The only thing
to do is to become as cold and efficient as they are, without sympathy
or remorse. In fact, to give up our soul. I do quite like his belief
that 99% of people need to policing at all. That good people govern
themselves, but I think he believes that number is shrinking. Is it
pessimistic to agree with him?

Those are just some of my thoughts about Bell. I think I'll digest a
little and write about chigure in a different post.
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