To Persist is to Survive
They plodded on, thin and filthy as street addicts. Cowled in their blankets against the cold and their breath smoking, shuffling through the black and silky drifts…. and the noon sky black as the cellars of hell. He held the boy against him, cold to the bone. Dont lose heart, he said. We’ll be all right (The Road 177).
A man and his son travelling alone amidst the ruins of a previously prosperous nation; a young man venturing into a treacherous land to tie up the loose ends in his life; a broken ranch hand that suspects he had a conversation with death: in the most desolate and uncertain environments, the surrounding world can lend a bleak and lifeless perspective to one’s struggle to survive. In lands without accompaniment from other humans, the will to live can be as difficult to muster as shelter for the night or the first meal in days. Cormac McCarthy explores the difficulties of survival under the tension of barren landscapes and youthful inexperience and their effects on the loss of innocence. Gained maturity enables humans to persist and stay hopeful, even in the least hopeful situations. These environments and mindsets play an important role in the messages of three novels by Cormac McCarthy: The Road, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain.
McCarthy’s The Road exemplifies the struggle to survive throughout the entire novel. In the most trying times, during the longest stretches without food, the father’s persistence and confidence