often tosses a coin
before killing his victims. He uses the coin as a tool to demonstrate his philosophy of life, especially the ways in which fate, chance, and free will function in determining the outcome of one’s life. The novel posits the existence of free will, but only within the limits of one’s mortality—we make choices, but each choice, no matter the outcome, takes us closer to death. The fact that Chigurh forces his victims to choose in the coin toss speaks to the way in which we can only make choices within the limits of our own mortality, even though people don’t recognize this fact. We do not have a choice over our death. The coin accounts for the function of chance and choice in this journey toward death. In one sense, the act of choosing heads or tails is a hyperbolic example of the way in which each and every choice we make has outcomes, which lead us toward our end. Chigurh uses the coin to teach those he confronts that the smallest action—the toss of a coin—can have severe consequences down the road. The chance involved in the coin toss also speaks to the impossibility of know what outcomes our choices will be. Life forces us to make decisions, but we can never predict the outcome because chance is a factor that cannot be accounted for.