In No Country for Old Men
, the briefcase
full of money is a symbol that reflects the theme of power, greed, and corruption. The question of whom the money belongs to runs through the course of the novel, and the violent events of the narrative are driven by several entities attempting to retrieve it. Individuals are willing to kill and put their lives on the line for the briefcase, speaking to the power of greed. When Moss
first finds the briefcase, his entire life flashes before his eyes. As a working class individual, the money means access to a life he could only have dreamed of. He takes the money, knowing the dangers involved, but deciding the risk is worth the consequences. As the novel progresses, Moss’s motives shift away from the issue of wealth, toward the issue of power and autonomy. The question of who possesses the money becomes more important than the money itself. This struggle to keep the money ultimately leads to Moss’s death, and the downfall of several other characters, suggesting that the individual’s striving for power and wealth, signified by the briefcase, ultimately destroys those who seek it.