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The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road

Vschoen, March 30, 2012

“The Road”, written by Cormac McCarthy is a novel that tugs at the harsh reality of the outcome of a destructive society. In this post-apocalyptic novel, two protagonists struggle to survive as they embark on a seemingly never-ending journey. As a reader you will be introduced to the conflict of good vs. evil and what is justifiable in the midst of ‘life or death’ situations. The audience will discover the definition of perseverance and will be able to visualize the depth of a father-son relationship. The novel was a wonderful novel that taught me many life lessons. I would recommend you read it although you must be aware that the novel is very depressing and is quite violent in some scenes.

The novel ”The Road” begins with a father and a son in the midst of an extremely horrific setting with “Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop,” (McCarthy, 4). The novel progresses as the man and the boy travel the country on foot in order to escape unfriendly people and unwelcoming situations. Along their journey they encounter cannibalism, hypothermia, and extreme malnutrition. Not only is their journey significant for how it reflects modern-day society, but their journey also gives the reader a strong appreciation for shelter, food, water, and clothing.

“The Road” reflects society as a ‘dog eat dog’ world; everyone looking out for themselves or their loved ones and caring little about those who they don’t affiliate themselves with. A secondary theme is the conflict between determining who is ‘good’ in the world and who is ‘bad’. The struggle between good and evil is utterly difficult. Is the man who steals their clothes in order to stay warm an evil person? Is the group who kills a dying man in order to eat his flesh to fuel their hunger a bad group of people? You as the reader have the liberty to decide what is justifiable in a twisted world. You may also begin to question the actuality of human nature and how one will do anything to survive including putting someone else in misery. Where is the line drawn and how does our society in the 21st century reflect these selfish motives?

It is important to take notice that there are no chapters in this novel, nor are there any sections. McCarthy chooses to organize different thoughts, the changing of scenery, and t coming of a new day through page breaks. There are also no quotations in the dialogue. For example,
“It’s okay
Please, Papa. Please.
It’s okay.
No it’s not.” (McCarthy, 134)
Although, the story is still very easy to follow and very rarely does the style inflict confusion. The story is told chronologically although flashbacks do occur causing the plot to bounce around a few times. The flashbacks take the reader to a time that is still post-apocalypse; leaving the reader with no insight into how the world came to perish. One can identify this novel with other futuristic novels. For example, Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley, and Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury, also showcase a distorted future occurring as a result of society’s materialistic desires, narcissistic motives, and warped morals.

Overall, this is a wonderful novel that will give you a gripping vision into the world’s possible future. The novel will teach you many new and important ideas into the harsh reality of our society in this day in age. The comments on egocentric personalities and the difference between good and evil is a heart-quenching story that will force you to question life’s current state. If you enjoy reading about futuristic novels and are not threatened by the depressing themes the novel centers around, then “The Road”, written by Cormac McCarthy, is most definitely a novel for you. Enjoy your reading!
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