A Whole Lot Bigger of a Problem

“I read in the papers here a while back some teachers come across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they’d been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. So they got out one of them forms that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So I think about that. Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I’m getting old. That it’s one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that cant tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I’ve got.”

~ Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men (p. 195-196)

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13 thoughts on “A Whole Lot Bigger of a Problem”

  1. Sad thing is that the problem continues to grow. :/ Good excerpt. I have seen part of the movie but never read the book. Is it worth a read? Thank you for posting.

    1. The movie is quite good, but the book is better. More hopeful and thought-provoking, in my opinion. The film omitted Sheriff Bell’s personal reflections (which are actually pretty important) and as a result, it’s much less hopeful than McCarthy’s original story.

      1. I’ll answer, it’s on my list, but I haven’t gotten a copy yet. It’s one of the books I hope to acquire soon. So no, he hasn’t read it yet. The library did’t have that one.

  2. Another book to add to my wish list, but hey, a couple hundred ain’t bad, right? Great excerpt! Society has managed to flip an important truth – a wisdom nugget – a biblical truth/command, actually. “Honor your father and mother” has become “Honor your sons and daughters.” Another observation: If you ask anyone (okay, maybe not your closest family or friends, or readers. Thank God!) to recount that particular Commandment (and actually get an answer) it will probably be, “Honor your mother and father.” Gender role/responsibility/honor reversal is a biggie too! Just thought I’d throw that in. :-)

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