No Country for Old Men

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Carla Jean Moss Character Analysis

The young wife of Llewellyn Moss, Carla Jean is a faithful and strong-willed young woman. Nineteen at the time of the narrative, she married Moss at sixteen after a premonition delivered to her in a dream. Despite the warnings of her grandmother, who also raised her, she married Moss and enjoyed their life together. She loves and trusts her husband, listening to him after he tells her to hide out with her grandmother in Odessa. Even after Moss is wounded, she trusts his advice, and refuses to help Bell as he attempts to track Moss down. Carla Jean bravely confronts Chigurh at the end of the novel, arguing against his philosophy. Ultimately, Chigurh helps her to accept her fate, and kills her.

Carla Jean Moss Quotes in No Country for Old Men

The No Country for Old Men quotes below are all either spoken by Carla Jean Moss or refer to Carla Jean Moss. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Philosophy, Morality, and Ethics Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of No Country for Old Men published in 2006.
Chapter 5 Quotes

I guess in all honesty I would have to say that I never knew nor did I ever hear of anybody that money didnt change.

Related Characters: Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (speaker), Carla Jean Moss
Related Symbols: The Briefcase
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Bell pays a visit to Carla Jean Moss, the wife of Llewellyn Moss. Carla Jean knows that Moss has run off with a lot of money, but she's confident that her husband will remain the same man--in other words, his personality and values won't change at all. Bell, who's more experienced and more realistic about human nature (on this subject, at least), insists that money changes everyone.

We've already seen plentiful evidence that Bell is right about Moss. Even after Moss senses that possessing the briefcase full of money is endangering his life, he continues to hang onto it. The love of money, so the saying goes, is the root of all evil. But the novel makes a subtler point about the briefcase--that Llewellyn keeps it even after he knows his peril not because he hopes to get rich (he seems to know that he would never have the freedom and safety to actually enjoy the money), but because he wants to assert his own survival and independence in the face of a seemingly-unstoppable murderer like Chigurh.

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Chapter 9 Quotes

Every moment in your life is a turning and every one a choosing. Somewhere you made a choice. All followed to this. The accounting is scrupulous. The shape is drawn. No line can be erased. I had no believe in your ability to move a coin to your bidding. How could you? A Person’s path through the world seldom changes and even more seldom will it change abruptly. And the shape of your path was visible from the beginning.

Related Characters: Anton Chigurh (speaker), Carla Jean Moss
Related Symbols: The Coin
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

In this disturbing scene, Anton Chigurh tracks down Carla Jean and prepares to murder her, claiming that Llewellyn Moss has doomed her by refusing to part with his money. He gives her the chance to save her life by flipping a coin--when Carla Jean makes the wrong call, Chigurh prepares to shoot her. Before dying, Carla Jean asks Chigurh how he can choose whether or not to kill someone based on a simple coin toss.

Chigurh offers Carla Jean a long, contradictory explanation for his own behavior. As Chigurh sees it, humans go through life with free will--they exercise their freedom thousands of times. And yet all these free choices can't save a human being from the inevitable act of dying, which no one can choose to escape. Chigurh sees himself as an executor of fate, neither good nor evil. Paradoxically, he describes Carl Jean's death as both fated and a product of her free will: she "made a choice" that led her here, and yet cannot escape her predetermined fate ("visible from the beginning") in the present moment.

Chigurh's philosophy, in short, is contradictory and baffling. What makes Chigurh so maddening is that Chigurh himself refuses to exercise any free will: he just lives out his dark philosophy, obeying his own word and the "law of the coin toss."

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Carla Jean Moss Character Timeline in No Country for Old Men

The timeline below shows where the character Carla Jean Moss appears in No Country for Old Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...mile of the way. He stops once for a pack of cigarettes for his wife Carla Jean . When he reaches his trailer he sees the lights are on. He sits in... (full context)
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Inside, Moss finds Carla Jean sitting on the couch. She asks what is in the briefcase. He tells her it... (full context)
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Moss wakes up at 1:06am and sits up. He looks at Carla Jean , still asleep, and pulls the blanket up over her shoulder before going into the... (full context)
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Carla Jean wakes up as Moss is getting dressed. She asks him where he is going, and... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...a bus home after escaping from the Mexicans. When he walks in to the trailer, Carla Jean rushes off of the couch, and hugs him, telling him she thought he was dead.... (full context)
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Moss tells Carla Jean she needs to pack her things. Whatever she doesn’t take, he says, she will never... (full context)
Chapter 3
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The narrative moves to Moss as he says goodbye to Carla Jean , telling her he will call her in a few days. Before getting on the... (full context)
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...about that night based on the composition of tire tracks in the dirt. They identify Moss’s truck at the scene of the crime, as both Bell and Wendell recognize it. Wendell... (full context)
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The narrative moves to Chigurh as he drives to Moss’s trailer. He knocks on the door, waits, and when no answer comes, he uses the... (full context)
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...to a café and opens the phone bills he took from the house. He calls Carla Jean’s grandmother, and asks if she has seen Moss, but she says she hasn’t. When she... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Bell and Wendell go to Moss’s trailer. They enter cautiously, and Bell notes that there is no reason in the world... (full context)
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...scene. Bell is agreeable, but it is clear that he doesn’t like McIntyre. McIntyre examines Moss’s truck, and notes that the vehicle is not full of bullet holes like the others.... (full context)
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Chigurh searches the room, finding Moss’s machinegun resting on the sink. He wipes the blood from the soles of his boots... (full context)
Chapter 5
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The narrative shifts to the past as Bell drives out to Odessa to talk to Carla Jean at her grandmother’s house. When she answers the door, Bell takes off his hat, and... (full context)
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...an omen of things to come. He tells her that the situation is not in Moss’s favor. Carla Jean replies that Moss will not change. Bell asks if they were having... (full context)
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...he turned the money in, they would put it in the papers. This may be Moss’s only chance at survival. Carla Jean says they could put it in anyways, but Bell... (full context)
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Bell and Carla Jean continue talking about Moss. Bell says he is going to end up killing someone. Carla... (full context)
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Carla Jean tells Bell about the job she had at Wal-Mart before she met Moss. The night... (full context)
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Before they leave, Carla Jean asks Bell if he really cares about Moss. He says that the people of the... (full context)
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...smiles. Bell says it’s nice to be home with her. Loretta asks if he thinks Carla Jean was telling the truth. He says yes. Then she asks if he thinks Moss is... (full context)
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...not put up with it. Loretta asks if he thinks Moss will come back for Carla Jean , and Bell says he would be a damn fool if he didn’t. (full context)
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...and falls asleep with his gun beside him. He wakes at dusk, and goes to Moss’s former room. He enters without disturbing the police tape and looks around. He checks the... (full context)
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...walks through the center of Eagle Pass taking mental notes of the crime scene, noticing Moss’s blood on the sidewalk, bullet holes in the buildings, and teardrop smears of lead bullets.... (full context)
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...asks Moss how he knows Chigurh is not on his way to Odessa to Kill Carla Jean . Moss says Wells doesn’t know what he is talking about. Wells hands Moss two... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...to Wells as he examines the bridge that crosses the river into Mexico. He studies Moss’s blood marks on the sidewalk. He walks further along before finding blood on the chain-link... (full context)
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From Mexico, Moss calls Carla Jean before calling Wells’ phone. Carla Jean’s grandmother answers, telling him she doesn’t want to talk... (full context)
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...Negras, but that he is heading to Odessa instead. He tells Moss he can save Carla Jean by handing over the money. He tells Moss he will kill him either way, but... (full context)
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...Bell has a “dog in this hunt”, and Bell says tells him about Moss and Carla Jean . The Sheriff asks if they are family. Bell says no, but they are from... (full context)
Chapter 7
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The narrative then moves to Carla Jean and her grandmother as they take a cab to the bus station in an undisclosed... (full context)
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That night, Chigurh goes to the house where Carla Jean was staying with her Grandmother. He searches the house, and in the kitchen takes a... (full context)
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...doesn’t know a damn thing. When Bell gets home, Loretta gives him a message from Carla Jean written on a piece of paper. Bell asks if she said where she was, noting... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...back the sheet, and Bell identifies Moss. Bell immediately realizes he will have to tell Carla Jean . The sheriff tries to comfort him by saying there is nothing he could have... (full context)
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Bell goes to Carla Jean’s motel room and knocks on the door. He tells her he is sorry, and Carla... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Bell, once again issuing a monologue from the present, wishes he could have told Carla Jean that Moss didn’t sleep with the young woman he picked up, and was instead just... (full context)
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Carla Jean’s grandmother passes away, and she goes to her funeral. She is surprised by the number... (full context)
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Carla Jean tries to reason with Chigurh. She tells him that her husband is dead, and the... (full context)
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Chigurh asks Carla Jean if she has any final words. She says she has nothing to say to him.... (full context)
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Chigurh pulls a coin from his pocket and holds it up for Carla Jean to see. He wants her to see the justice of it. He flips the coin... (full context)
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Before shooting Carla Jean , Chigurh tells her that every moment in her life is a turning and every... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...is a sign of aging. Bell then states that he can’t understand why Chigurh killed Carla Jean . Meanwhile, in a separate incident, the police have a Mexican man in custody for... (full context)
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The narrative then moves back to the past, a short time after Carla Jean has been murdered. Bell gets a call from a detective with the Odessa Police Department.... (full context)