Mccarthy creates a bleak post apocalyptic society through the use of imagery. He describes a world where there is no wildlife and all that’s left are the ashes. “The road was gullied eroded and barren. The bones of dead creatures sprawled in the washes. Middens of anonymous trash”(177). While the man and the boy travel the road, they rarely come across other living things. The boy even shows a lack of knowledge about animals, constantly asking his father questions about them. They always have to keep moving due to the constant threat of danger. Their nomadic lifestyle prevents them from becoming attached to anything. This gives the feeling of absolute isolation. Throughout the novel, the man often has dreams of life before. His dreams are described in vivid colors, "walking in a flowering wood where birds flew before them he and the child and the
McCarthy writes, “I want to be with you. You cant. Please. You cant. You have to carry the fire. I dont know how to. Yes you do. Is it real? The fire? Yes it is. Where is it? I dont know where it is. Yes you do. It’s inside you. It was always there. I can see it” (pg. 278-279). Here, the lack of punctuation marks are prominent features of McCarthy’s writing style. One can infer that by doing this, he emphasizes the struggle and hardship of the current world, and how the civilities of the preapocalyptic world are no longer deemed significant in the present society. The dialogue between the man and the boy comprise of no quotation marks, which make it difficult for the reader to understand who is speaking which words. On the other hand, McCarthy structures the interactions between the man and the boy in a manner that it is almost poetic-like. Furthermore, the simplistic nature of the dialogue allows for interpretation of the raw emotion that is present in the text. Fear, lack of confidence, love, and fatigue are common emotions that the man and the boy inflect through their nightmarish journey on the road. “Carrying the fire” is a phrase that is used frequently in the novel. One can assume that the phrase is referring to having optimism in the goodness of humanity. Unfortunately, many of the inhabitants of this gruesome practice repulsive lifestyles including, but not limited to, cannibalism, rape, unprovoked battery, murder, and theft.
Cormac McCarthy’s brain child “The Road” is a postapocalyptic novel that illustrates the harsh reality of the world. This story serves as a truth that humans, when stripped of their humanity will take desperate measures in order to survive. The reader learns; however even when it seems all hope is lost good can still be found in the world. The son character of this story illuminates this philosophy. He is a foil of his father and shows how even a person never accustomed to the luxury of a normal life can still see goodness.
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
In the novel, The Road, Cormac McCarthy illustrates the expressions, settings and the actions by various literary devices and the protagonist’s struggle to survive in the civilization full of darkness and inhumanity. The theme between a father and a son is appearing, giving both the characters the role of protagonist. Survival, hope, humanity, the power of the good and bad, the power of religion can be seen throughout the novel in different writing techniques. He symbolizes the end of the civilization or what the world had turned out to be as “The Cannibals”. The novel presents the readers with events that exemplify the events that make unexpected catastrophe so dangerous and violent. The novel reduces all human and natural life to the
During a conversation between the father and Ely, a man they encountered in the road, Ely says, “When we're all gone at last then there'll be nobody here but death and his days will be numbered too. He'll be out in the road there with nothing to do and nobody to do it to. He'll say: Where did everybody go? And that's how it will be. What's wrong with that?” (McCarthy 173). When reading this, the reader is able to feel the sense of isolation each person feels within this time. By personifying Death, McCarthy further instills that the land is so barren and dead that even Death has lost a purpose, Death is isolated. McCarthy’s ability to evoke such an emotion within a reader allows the reader to understand the feeling of isolation and despair within the father and his son and any other refugee left, such as
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
In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the man and the boy are on a constant journey towards survival. Limited visibility is prevalent within different aspects of this novel. One is within the man, as he has a limited view on humanity itself. Throughout the novel, the man is
An important flaw the son has is that he does not remember the world as a peaceful place the son only remembers the world destroyed. This type of naivetes gives the boy a minimal outlook on the past and see the difference of the present. The father knows the difference which gives the father the realization before The Road begins. The son in portions of The Road is starving, this desolate place called the world does not give any chance of hope or second ones. The importance of this geographical state in the book makes the father and son rely on one another because they know the very importance of staying alive, and the only way they can do that is to fight for one another. The Road opens with a setting of desolation, “When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him”, which creates a concern within the readers that are realizing the magnitude of this horrible place. (McCarthy 3) The son in the first page of the book is mentioned
We often consider the world to be filled with core truths, such as how people should act or what constitutes a good or bad action. In The Road, McCarthy directly challenges those preconceptions by making us question the actions of the characters and injecting a healthy dose of uncertainty into the heroes’ situation. From the very beginning, the characters and their location remain ambiguous. This is done so that the characters are purposely anonymous, amorphously adopting all people. While on the road, the order of the day is unpredictability; whether they find a horde of road-savages or supplies necessary for his son’s survival is impossible to foretell. While traveling, the boy frequently asks “are we the good guy” and the father always replies with “yes” or “of course,” but as the story progresses this comes into question.
The encounters and interactions the man and boy had while on the road help develop McCarthy’s larger theme of humanity losing its selflessness when it’s in danger. For example, while the man and the boy are traveling to the coast they come across a burnt man, half-dead lying in the road. After some observation, the boy asks the man if they could “help him” but is continuously shot down by his father who repeatedly tells him to “stop it” (McCarthy 50). The Road’s setting is one of the strongest over the weak, those who can’t survive for themselves they simply won’t. This burnt man, who was struck by lightning, is an example of that as he is now in no condition to scavenge for food and medical supplies and will probably just die where he currently sits. The boy, realizing this, wanted to do something to give the man even a small chance at survival, but the man knew he was a lost cause and should be left to die. The boy and his overwhelming desire to help the dying man is representative of old society and its pressure to help those with lesser than you, ideals that were result of religious codes and churches. But in a world where none of that matters or is present, the man is what humanity has become, selfish being whom only care about
Papa wishes for the boy to live on as the “good guy” and “carry the fire” (McCarthy 278). This sense of duty, “carrying the fire”, gives reason for the boy to live on. The “fire” that he carries can be seen as a symbol for the light in the darkness that surrounds it. By choosing not to eat people, Papa and the boy retain their humanity, thus they are “carrying the fire” of humanity. The apocalypse has drastically changed the landscape in such a way that cannibalism has become the norm and that Papa and the boy, who represent the pre-apocalypse humanity, have become the minority.
Right from the beginning of the book, McCarthy sets a tone of desperation and misery. However, at times, he hints to threads of lingering hope and happiness hidden deep within both the man and the boy. McCarthy indicates this, as the two travel down the road, with this quote. Even though they are surrounded by a desolate, brutal world, they are still able to find some source of joy. The bond between the man and his son is strong; each of them is all the other has left for a sense of optimism. Instead of walking down the hill, like they always have, the man chooses the more entertaining way for his son. This section is significant because it shows that the man, despite the harsh world they now live in, will still do anything to see his son happy,
”(McCarthy 17). One can very easily tell the need for food they have, especially when the father emphasizes how they are always looking for food at the end of the quote. The boy and father are not cannibals either, meaning they have less food, and are a target for those who are cannibals. Cannibals are their main threat. The father saved two bullets in his pistol so that he and his son could commit suicide instead of being eaten alive.
In a desolate world ravaged by fire, a boy and his father trudge across the countryside. They encounter people in their most desperate times where their motives are unpredictable and noone can be trusted. The boy and his father try to maintain their morality while facing starvation and having to deal with unpredictable people they encounter on the road. Cormac McCarthy in his novel The Road, uses the theme of hope to demonstrate the human trait that purpose is essential to survival.