Mr P wrote:
I can just imagine the "sweet dreams" we in the BT fiction forum are going to have after pondering all this...
The shirt scene with Moss and the three boys is in chapter IV, page 115.
You must be right, Mr P, in looking for the parallel between the scenes.
The book gives me a different impression though.
So, since it is said the Coen Brothers followed the book closely, they must have had a good reason for making things different.
The boys are not bad, just drunk.
Moss says "Excuse me" three times, including
"Excuse me I wondered if you would sell me a coat."
He offers $ 500, and the only difficulty is the boys think he is kidding them and he will just take the coat and vanish.
I also wondered about this when I read it, but came to different conclusions.
Chigurh asked, the boys were surprised, and one said he would just give him his shirt for free (as he was injured).
Chigurh applied his usual logic: when he asks a question, he means to have an answer. When the question is "how much", the answer had better be in dollars, he doesn't talk to pass the time.
Probably, the way Chigurh's mind works, " What'll you give for...?" is Chigurhese for "Would you mind letting me use...?" , and he will not change it because some human beings of no consequence speak a different language.
Actually, I got the impression that if he had not been so wounded, the boys' impudent lack of logic and inability to focus on the question might have been their death warrants.