Rules of randomness, understanding the incomprehensible and foresight of the unforeseeable are pervading concerns in McCarthy’s 2006 novel set in the border area between the US and Mexico. The essay applies some of the key concepts of chaos theory to address issues of randomness, order, and unpredictability in No Country for Old Men. It analy
...ses the novel’s set of key characters, Moss, Chigurh and Sheriff Bell, as the manifestation of Poincaré’s three body problem. By focusing on relevant settings as Poincaré sections and maps, on characters representing rigidly deterministic vs. chaotic universes, as well as on the transformation of systems overtaken by turbulence into entirely new systems, the essay argues that the novel opens a window on the dynamic and holistic order governing the universe and our existence. Also, it points out that McCarthy’s insights regarding the complex implications of decision making and the power of the unexpected may help the reader evaluate the moral implications of such historical crises as WWII, the Vietnam War, and 9/11.