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The Road: by Cormac McCarthy

English ISU
by

Taylor Jones

on 19 December 2012

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Transcript of The Road: by Cormac McCarthy

The Road By: Cormac McCarthy The Disintegration of Society Society Today In the News... Consider this... Being Lost Paternal Love: Good vs. Evil Writing Style: Themes Specific to The Road The Road: The Writer Behind The Novel in many of his novels, The Road included, McCarthy depicts unglorified acts of violence
his ability to present to his readers the reality of human nature through his writing enhances the language used in The Road
civilized human beings have an understanding of what is right and wrong; the morality of humans is what creates a just society
when morals begin to blend with the constant threat of death as McCarthy presents in The Road, society itself loses its value
McCarthy's use of the words "dark", "darkness", and "grey" are a reiteration of what can become of society when all morals and law have been destroyed death
paternal love
good vs. evil
being lost no emotion in the world is stronger than that of a parent's love for their child; the relationship shared between the father and son in The Road is a reflection of this emotional bond.
however, there is a fine line between a parent's love for their child and that love interfering with the morals of society.
the father justifies his actions (killing a man and leaving a young boy alone on the road) as a responsibility to keep his son alive
if one father, or mother, sees this as justification then there are for certain a number of others who will believe the same
when a group of people justify killing as a solution to their survival, this goes against all societal values which takes into account the concern of others
the father's love for his son in The Road prevents him from realizing the danger he is causing to society, and therefore is a major factor influencing the disintegration of society
perhaps McCarthy is sending the message that; as a society, we must not only focus on ourselves and our family, but also how your choices and decisions can affect society as a whole

"The one thing I can tell you is that you wont survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body." the idea of being lost arises from the fact that the father and his son do not have a true home; and for the son he has never had a true home
his entire life has been spent wandering the endless road in search of hope, something that signifies that there is a God, that something good will come from all this devastation
the fact of the matter is, nothing is coming

"The world shrinking down about a raw core of parsible entities. The names of things slowly following those things into oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true. More fragile than he would have thought. How much was gone already? The sacred idiom shorn of its referents and so of its reality."

literally and figuratively, the father and his son are lost; they have lost a sense of reality, more so the father than the son as he still preserves what little innocence he has left.

"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 dont know where it is.Yes you do. It's inside you. It was always there. I can see it."

the fire personifies a light that will guide the son to safety, to hope, and in the end he is greeted by a new family, whom we can only hope will care for the boy Student Raped, Thrown off Moving Bus in New Delhi
- The Globe and Mail
Wave of Attacks Through Iraq Kill 35
-The Globe and Mail
Newtown school shooting: First funerals begin for young victims as schools confront tragedy
-The Toronto Star Put yourself in the shoes of the father and his son: could you justify killing for the sake of survival, and if so, would you still consider yourself to be truly "good"? Imagine yourself walking through a burned and desolate America. All that you have come to know has been destroyed. Your first priority is survival, and second, where your next meal will come from. You do not know what you are running from, only that you must run in order to stay alive.

The Road follows a father and his son on a journey along a road, whereby they encounter gruesome experiences as they fight for their life. All they have is each other and what little hope there is of survival.

McCarthy's ability to capture true human emotion in a world where there appears to be no God and little hope, shows to readers the reality of the transformations society and human morals can take if everything we have come to know is taken away.

"... there is no other dream nor other waking world and there is no other tale to tell.On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world. Query: How does the never to be differ from what never was?" Death: the father and son are surrounded by a burned, blackened America; this in itself is a representation of the death present from beginning to end in the novel.
when the father coughs, he is coughing up blood, and it worsens as the novel progresses; this is foreshadowing the father's inevitable death in the end. He must carry this burden with him on his journey along the road, knowing very well that sooner rather than later, death will take him away from his young son.
death is a scary thought for any living human being; when you are faced with death everyday, as the father and son in The Road, it can become an influential factor in the way we as humans act in society.
it is our natural human instinct to want to survive; this mindset clouds our judgement and our morals, thereby affecting the way we interact as a society.
In The Road, death has caused the survivors, including the son and father to forget their past lives and become refugees, wandering a single road for miles and miles, sometimes talking to and seeing no one for months on end.
in the end, they forget the natural values of society; death has become their reality, and all understanding of what once was a country built on societal values has become nothing more then a barren, desolate wasteland. when morals take a back seat to our own personal interest and actions, society itself becomes shattered and destructible
the idea of good vs. evil is not so much a theme as it is a message. McCarthy raises the controversial statement; that we as humans cannot truly contemplate what is "good" and "evil" when we ourselves are not truly "good" inside.
the father believes that those who murder and kill others are to be considered evil; how then is it possible that when he kills the man coming from the truck, he can still consider himself "good", or when he leaves a man naked in the middle of the road?

"You wanted to know what the bad guys looked like. Now you know. It may happen again. My job is to take care of you. I was appointed to do that by God. I will kill anyone who touches you. Do you understand?Yes.He sat there cowled in the blanket. After a while he looked up. Are we still the good guys? he said.Yes. We're still the good guys."

the conflict is not at all clear, though to me it appears that the "good" and the "bad" guys all strive for the same thing, survival.
survival, for the father clouds his judgement, thereby diminishing the values he once shared regarding living within a society; when a society loses all morals, there is no law, no right and wrong.
the world described in The Road, in my opinion, shares similar concepts to that of our own; in fact, it could be a warning showing us how we as a race can destroy everything for the sake of our own well-being
the concept of good vs. evil impacts society in a way that is irreversible; in The Road, it seems as if the characters are trying to present their choices and judgements as being "good" when really, the nature of their actions are anything but. How is our society any different from what McCarthy depicts in The Road? McCarthy writes of an Earth with no future. For us, it seems near impossible to imagine any Earth but our own. This ignorance becomes our shortfall as humans. As Earth evolves, so to does man, no matter the circumstances; our choices will dictate whether this transformation is for the better or for the worse.

Our society values the gaudy and fake; things that do not really exist. We fill or lives with material goods because it is our belief that these are the necessities in life. But, when you get down to the basics, all you need in life is love, hope, and possibility.

For the father, he realizes this too late, and meets his death in the end. His son however, in his journey, is a representation of everlasting hope and human resilience. Throughout the novel, he knows that there are other ways that he and his father can survive without having to kill. The reference made to the "fire" is done so as a reminder that people like the son; those who are hopeful, innocent, and pure, are the ones who will carry the "fire" in our lifetime.

If we take a step back from our daily routines for only moment, we will remember that in order to function as a society, we must work together to ensure the just and rightful treatment of the individuals in our lives.

The Road very much so, paints a picture in our minds of a world without morals, a world without values, a world that very well could be our own if we as a race do not realize that we are the only ones jeopardizing our future.
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