Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Blog your thoughts on this post-apocalyptic thriller here.

16 comments:

Jared Randall said...

"How much had gone already? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so its reality. Drawing down like something trying to preserve heat. In time to wink out forever." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg 75. McCarthy is using a metaphor to illustrate the postapocalyptic world where color, knowledge, food, and life are quickly "drawing down" until everyone alive to preserve it is dead. This passage perfectly sets the tone of the book. The world the characters walk through is filled with gray skies, landscapes, drinking water, and is bordered by a gray ocean. It is dying like a man does in the snow, huddled for warmth in his blanket. This at least what came to mind for me when I read this effective metaphor and is what I remembered when reading the rest of the novel.The characters in the novel are trying to do one thing: survive. Surviving in a world mostly void of color, food, and people would seem impossible, but the one of the main characters do it for months before dying. The only way to keep from "drawing down" with the world and surviving through the cold is to harbor love. The effects the new world has on people is clear through people like Ely and the thief. It does not however effect the boy and his Papa's mental capacities too harshly, because they love each other and look out for each other. The world is dying quickly and the only way to stay off the storm is with love.

Jared Randall said...

"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." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg 234. McCarthy's metaphor for goodness is called "the fire". His symbol for goodness in a gloomy, corrupt world is the boy, who represents goodness (the fire). He carries the fire as his Papa (the symbol for survival) carries him. The man can see the fire in the boy through his actions. He gives the poor food in a foodless world, refuses to take from the living (or cook the living), and is always on the lookout for the bad guys. Sometimes being good can be detrimental to surviving. The boy wastes the gas from the bunker, forgets the gun on the beach, and eats food that could be saved for the man. But the flame must be carried! As I explained in the first blog, love is the key to surviving in a world like the one in "The Road". The flame must be used to stay off the cold that is clamped on the new world. Goodness must be present to spread love, wich is dying like the rest of the planet.

Nicole Nutter said...

"He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like groundfoxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, 110

The metaphor from the passage, “…two hunted animals trembling like groundfoxes in their cover”, refers to the man and his son and their lives hanging on a thread as they witness the earth continue to revolve although it is covered in death and ashes. The animals in the quote are scared and trembling because they are being hunted. This relates to how the man and the boy feel and that is scared that they won’t survive the new world they live in. The earth left nothing for them, not even the promise of a future. The passage reflects the theme death in the book. It reflects this theme because even though the man and boy keep moving on in fear and surviving, death is always near. And the man is reminded of that by the landscape described in the passage.

Nicole Nutter said...

“You have to carry the fire.
I don’t know how to.
Yes you do.
Is it real? The fire?
Yes it is.
Where is it? I don’t know where it is.
Yes you do. It’s inside you. It was always there. I can see it.” The Road, Cormac McCarthy, 234

The metaphor McCarthy uses in this passage is “carrying the fire”. The man tells the boy, who wishes to die with him, that he needs to continue living because he carries the fire. The fire could represent human morality and compassion for others because the man says that it is inside the boy. Throughout the book, the boy is always concerned with others. He cares more for other people more than he does himself. The boy would never resort to doing evil things for his own survival. In the apocalyptic world that the man and the boy live in, there seems to be a lack of morality between humans. Like the earth is dying, so is morality, compassion, and love. For example, the man is not concerned for the well being of other people he comes across, but only for him and his son. The boy is concerned for every living thing he comes across. The metaphor fits into one of the novel’s larger themes of good vs. evil. An example of this is when the father makes the thief strip down and the boy begs his father to help the thief instead. The boy starts to feel like one of the “bad guys” after his father does this. He has a good understanding between right and wrong and the man knows it. The man wants the boy to go on surviving, so that the boy can continue to carry the fire.

Dmitri said...

"When he came back he knelt beside his father and held his cold hand and said his name over and over." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg 281. A clever and subtle alliteration of the father's name, or lack there of. Throughout the book the father was refered to as "the father" by the author and by "papa" as the child. Not once was his real name mentioned, planting seeds of curiosity in the audience's mind, however this remains a closed to till the end, as the father achieves deaths, his identity still remains a mystery. This plays well into the larger theme of the novel which is identity or once again, lack there of. Without giving any character in the novel a name, they are deprived of their identity as accepted by modern society. In turn they become mere manifestation of their actions; they are what they do. This is directly conflicting with our modern out look where a person's actions are the extension of their identity E.G. A hurts you because he is a bad person, or the simple concept of a credit score. This creates a brazen alienation to the reader which further helps characterize the world. While this is a world that the reader feels familiar with, it is not something they can relate to, but let's them empathize with the father as he also used to live in a world that the reader could relate to.

Zachary said...

"Oh Papa, he said. He turned and looked again. What the boy had seen was a charred human infant headless and gutted and blackening on the spit." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg 198. McCarthy has very well portrayed what a classic little boy would do in the post apocalyptic times. Through out this book he has written how the boy refuses to go somewhere or doesn't want to be left alone because he is scared. This passage is ironic because the boy told the man many times that they should just leave and should forget about it. Now when they get there it is the boy who has seen the terrifying things this new world brings. The man himself is shocked and upset about how he forced the boy to come along. It is the man who is trying to teach the boy to survive and to explore and use resources, but now this new discovery could very well shock the boy forever. The man feared the carnivores and other mind scaring things that could endanger the boy, now he has exposed the boy to the true heartless acts in which society takes to during tough times.
The baby itself caused me to question and probably other readers to question. How can any mother at any cost resort to eating their baby? Assuming that this is the same baby in which the man saw in her stomach, she planned on eating her child before a real mother would have named it. This part in the book helps the reader understand how scary and fearful people have become. Women using their uterus as a food source, that has gone past animals and gone straight cannibals.

Zachary said...

"He leaned his forehead on his arms crossed upon the bar handle of the cart and coughed. He spat a bloody drool. More and more he had to stop and rest. The boy watched him. In some other world the child would already have begun to vacate him from his life. But he had no other life." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg 75. In the beginning of the book McCarthy foreshadowed the man's death by coughing out blood. Also the man pondered to not if but when will he die and what will happen to the boy. Now that because it is so late in the book and he is still spitting out blood that his death is very near. McCarthy also explains how the man's death is also the possible death of the boy. "But he had no other life." Meaning that the man was all the boy had. His mother abandoned him but the father refused. The boy would never leave him. The man was the only means or knowledge of survival the boy had ever known. It was the man who had provided for the boy day in and day out even with death near. Now with the man gone how was this boy to survive? How was he to get through the grieving process and still manage to survive? This was what the man feared so greatly in his heart more than death itself.

Jessie said...

“You can’t. You have to carry the fire.
I don’t know how to.
Yes you do.
Is it real? The fire?
Yes it is.
Where is it? I don’t know where it is.
Yes you do. It’s inside you. It was always there. I can see it.” The Road, Cormac McCarthy, page 279

McCarthy uses the fire to symbolize the will to survive and carrying on the goodness in the world. The fire represents the goodness that is left in the world McCarthy uses allegory to show this. He uses allegory very well during this conversation between the father and son because it is showing how much the son looks up to his dad and how much the fire means to the both of them. It’s what kept both of them moving and probably kept the dad alive a lot longer than he should have been. McCarthy’s intentions were to show how close a bond the father and son had and what the fire meant to them. He does a great job at it because it shows the son and how scared he is but also how well the father is at letting go and teaching his son to move forward and to carry on the good and the will to live no matter what. This fits in with the theme of love that is shown through out the book. The love between the father and son that is strengthened by all the obstacles put in their way that they must overcome together as to make it through the dark and gloomy planet that the world had become. This shows the bond between them coming to an end but a new beginning to the sons love for his father and drive to keep living even though he doesn’t think he can do it on his own.

Jessie said...

“Nights dark beyond darkness and the days gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world.” The Road, Cormac McCarthy, page 3

McCarthy uses metaphors and similes throughout the book but this was one of the first ones you read and it sets one of the themes in the book. The father and son in this book are alone the whole time, left to fend for themselves with no help. This quote from the book sets how the setting is going to be through out the whole book, dark, gloomy and depressing. When describing with each day the world is losing it’s sight he uses a metaphor comparing it to how a person with glaucoma loses there eyesight. McCarthy’s intention was to set the scene for the story and I think he did it as well as he could. After reading it there’s really no question on what the father and son were going to be living through, through out the book. This fits very well in with the theme of the book because the book’s theme is sad and is gloomy, it’s about a father and son trying to survive and running and hiding from other people. This quote sets that up perfectly because it shows no happiness in it, and it also sets the story to get worse and worse just like glaucoma gets when someone gets it until you can’t see at all. It’s setting the story to get worse and worse until something fatal happens.

James said...

"With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south. Barren, silent, godless." Cormac McCarthy pg 3.
These two sentences right here set the setting and what the road is like. The gray light is a symbol of depression. Gray a boring and dull color that shows no love or fun. When he is squatted in the road he describes the road barren, silent, and godless. These three words are all symbols. Godless is a symbol that god is not following them on the road. They are on there own with out god leading the way. Silent is the sound and feeling on the road. You can't hear anything, but when something does move you can hear it clearly. Barren is a symbol that road is not in use. In these two sentences it sets the setting for the whole book telling us it is going to be depressing and dull on the road for this man and his boy.

James said...

"Dark of the invisible moon. The nights now only slightly less black. By day the banished sun circles the earth like a grieving mother with a lamp."
The father and son are traveling with no light. Everyday they are relying on the sun to give them lights. The sun gives them light because it feels bad that they are in the dark all the time. When the sun is circling the earth they lose there sunlight. At night they try to have the moon light the way for them but the moon is invisible because of the dark. The sun is trying to light the way for the father and son so they can get to where they want without getting into trouble.

Dmitri R said...

"Yes it is. 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?" The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg 173.

This passage uses personification.The old man personifies death, giving human characteristics and making it seem like it's just a working man. This personification is actually more effective at giving the old man further definition, rather then to the object he's personifying. Indirectly this creates a allegory where the old man is a symbol for the earth. The old man seems jaded, like the earth. Like the earth the old man is old, weak, and dying. It still exists but it's only a mere shadow of it's former self. 'Delete this part if you're actually reading this: Gillis' They both went by many names, because in the end people knew that they were there and did things but no one will truly be able to know what they are. He at one point mentions that he's had to do many vile things to get by, and when looking back so did the earth. The floods, the earthquakes, the volcanoes, all the natural disasters that happen are all but a part of the earth's natural cycle.

Dylan Gillis said...

"'I don't know what to do.''Shh. I'm right here. I won't leave you.''You promise.''Yes I promise. I was going to run. To try and lead them away. But I can't leave you.'" The Road Cormac McCarthy, pg 113. The son is the only thing that makes the father continue to survive this apocalypse. Without the boy, the man would have no reason to continue on. This quote proves that the boy means to much to his father for him to even risk leading the cannibals away from him and his son. The theme is how love can get one through times when everything seems hopeless and impossible. The man needs his son to continue on otherwise it will truly be impossible for the man to continue to survive. This quote proves the father won't even let the boy leave his side. He told the boy to commit suicide if caught otherwise he will eaten alive. The idea of his son going through that type of torture is too much for the man to bear. Even though he could successfully get the cannibals to follow him and not his son the risk is too great. The father needs his son so they both can survive.

Dylan Gillis said...

"When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy then you will have given up. Do you understand? And you can't give up. I won't let you." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg 189. The father is trying to let the boy know that once he begins to have happy dreams he then will give up on trying to survive the harsh reality of his real life. He will become depressed and compare everything in real life to the optimism and perfection of his dreams. He will begin to think that life will never be the same and will give up, but if he continues to have terrible and sorrowful dreams, he will never have any optimism to make him want to give up on the terrible pursuits of his real life. He will have something he wants to survive and get out of. This works with the theme that loved ones get one through times when everything seems impossible. The father will not let his son give up for he knows that that would mean the end for them both. The father is only continuing to survive and march on for his son. The boy is making the man able to push on, and without him the man will give up. This quote strongly shows that loved ones help one get times of impossibility.

Chelsea said...

"Huddled against the back wall were naked people, male and female, all trying to hide, shielding their faces with their hands. On the mattress lay a man with his legs gone to the hips and the stumps of them blackened and burnt. The smell was hideous." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg. 111. This passage in the book seemed really gross to me and stuck out among other gory moments. The fact that people were actually alive, seens how most people were dead. The fact that this little boy has witnessed so many horrifying images that even I could not live with seems so unbelievable to me. This book seemed very real, and definitely possible, which is a scary thought!

Chelsea said...

"You don't believe me. I believe you. Okay. I always believe you. I don't think so. Yes I do. I have to." The Road, Cormac McCarthy, pg. 185. I absolutely loved this conversation between the father and son. I feel this boy is very mature, because he has to be. The fact that he mentions he has to believe his father is very true, because they are all the other has. These two beings, the father and his son, rely on each other for everything. "They cary the fire."