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Cormack Mccarthy The Road Analysis

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Cormack McCarthy’s novel, The Road, is set in a post apocalyptic world, where humanity is struggling to survive. Through his simplistic writing style and powerful symbolism, McCarthy tells a story about the human condition as well as what it truly means to be human. Though it is set in a wasteland this novel still manages to project hope through the love of a boy and his father. The following passages are quotes that spoke to me stylistically or symbolically while I was reading.
In the first pages of the book McCarthy paints a vivid picture of this world through a short dialogue, “Are we going to die? Sometime. Not now. And we’re still going south. Yes. So we’ll be warm. Yes. Okay. Okay what? Nothing. Just okay. Go to sleep. Okay. I’m going
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I don't know how to. Yes, you do. Is the fire real? The fire? Yes it is. Where is it? I don't know where it is. Yes you do. It's inside you. It always was there. I can see it.”(278). This quote is said as the man is dying and these are the last words he tells the boy as he passes. The fire has been referenced several times by the man as he tells the boy they are the good guys, and that it is their mission to carry the fire. The fire in this book symbolizes humanity; as soon as the flame goes out humanity is lost, therefore the fire has to be carried to continuously burn. This is why the man asks the boy to carry the flame. The man is dying and if the flame dies humanity dies with it. The reason it is humanity that dies rather than humans, is that humans in this world still exist. The man and boy have encountered various people throughout their journey, but that is not what the fire represents. Most people we have seen in this wasteland are vicious cannibals who torture others to survive. These people are human and they are surviving but they are not living. Those who carry the flame in this world are doing more than surviving they are living. The flame carriers recognize and have compassion for human suffering; they refuse to shut this part of their mind off in order to survive. This is why it is different from the people just surviving. The spark and flame that humanity once was is carried within them. This is also why the boy asks the stranger when he sees him if he carries the flame. If this stranger carries the flame, the boy knows that he has not lost his humanity, and therefore can be trusted. The reason I think the flame was chosen to symbolize humanity is because fire symbolizes life and knowledge. It has been said that once humans were able to utilize the flame. Humans stood up above animals for fire was the birth of human intelligence. The fire represents this intelligence and human’s ability
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