The road by McCarthy Cormac

Posted: October 17th, 2013





The road by McCarthy Cormac

            The Road was a novel written by Cormac McCarthy in 2006. The main plot of the story revolves around an unnamed father and his son, who go on an expedition across a severe apocalyptic countryside some years after a massive cataclysm destroyed all living things on Earth. The resulting land was devoid, filled with ash, and the human survivors were all turned into cannibals who scavenged the cities for flesh. The mother of the boy was pregnant at the beginning of the disaster, but she committed suicide after she gave up hope. The father and his son realized that they could not survive the winter and traveled south towards the sea.

Along the journey, the father’s health gradually diminished as he coughed blood occasionally along the way, but he still protected his son from starvation, attack and exposure. The father advised his son to kill himself if he fell in the hands of cannibals. Along their journey, they experience more cannibals and harder situations, but they finally found an exposed underground bunker that replenished their supplies temporarily. The father and the son eventually reached the sea, but the harsh conditions drove them back inland where the father contracted an illness. Before he dies, the father tells his son that they can continue communicating in his imagination and soon after, he dies. The child then meets another family with two children (McCarthy, 50).

At the beginning of the journey, the father seeks a secure environment for him and his son. The environment in which they initially find themselves was extremely hostile as the cannibals were also on the alert for any living humans that they could use as food. The father travels with his son in the process of moving towards the sea where it is expected to be safer and more habitable. Moreover, he also seeks a warmer climate where his son can have an increased chance of survival. They search for new food supplies that may last them as they continue on the journey.

Most of the work by McCarthy revolves around human nature. The earlier events in his childhood shaped his imagination and perspective of how human beings operate, as he had close encounters working in the American air force. McCarthy had a strong conviction when it came to separating between good and evil. McCarthy’s perspective of the human nature can be explained using the Darwinian Theory. He also presents the idea that, in certain environments, human beings tend to have traits that are beneficial to them. People who have these traits are more likely to survive and live to extend their family lineage.

The storyline has a lot of humanity that begins with the father leaving his wife because she had lost all hope and wanted to commit suicide. Human beings have the option of staying together in a pack, but when one of them expresses weaknesses, they are eliminated to survive or die on their own. In The Road, the father abandons their mother when she expresses hopelessness in maintaining the family. The father admits defeat in trying to salvage her wife and his family. The partial loss of humanity by not trying to help indicates a need to leave behind the symbols of his first life such as his wife’s photography (McCarthy, 150).

In the story, the father made the best decision of all. The father made a decision to take care of himself and his son. The father was going through a difficult time when his wife decided to abandon all hope and efforts at salvaging their marriage and family. The husband was left alone with a young boy whom he managed to raise in quite a harsh environment. The father managed to protect his child from other cannibals, harsh winter weather and starvation. The father gave up his own interests for those of his son so that the little boy could have a comfortable and normal life. The father also prevented his son from psychological trauma.





















Works Cited

McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Print.

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