Chigurh’s bolt gun, his weapon of choice through the novel, works symbolically to depict his view of humanity and his philosophy of fate and human nature. Typically, the air powered bolt gun is utilized in slaughterhouses to quickly and effectively slaughter cattle. The fact that Chigurh uses the bolt gun to kill his victims speaks to his conception of human beings as no different than animals. Chigurh does not believe in the concept of the soul or the afterlife, so in his mind, humans are no different than any other organism. The bolt gun was also developed as a tool that limits the chances of mistake in the slaughter of cattle. In the old days, individuals would use sledgehammers to slaughter cattle, but this old method left plenty of room for error. Because Chigurh’s goal is to deliver death quickly and effectively without any room for error, the bolt gun provides the most effective means to carry out his mission. The bolt gun is also an immensely pragmatic tool Chigurh uses to gain entrance into homes, businesses, and motels. The practical nature of this tool works in line with Chigurh’s logic through the novel.
The Bolt Gun Symbol Timeline in No Country for Old Men
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Bolt Gun appears in No Country for Old Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.