Honors English, Period 6
18 March 2019
The Road Less Traveled
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is the hard-hitting truth to the fantastic apocalyptic adventures in Hollywood that everyone believes. The jarring simplicity of the plot and what it entails paints a deeper more saturated image of what lies beneath the facade of humanity. Encountering hordes of murderers, marauders, cannibals, and slavers along their journey a boy and his father, as they are never given names, must fight to keep their values intact while surviving in a world that has been stripped bare of the morality they hold so dear. This relationship and the world in which McCarthy makes it exist exposes what is truly valued and necessary is not the materialistic but the concepts that give meaning to the journey. The major theme of the novel is that the struggle to destroy such concepts ends up as the destruction of the image but not the real thing; and the battle to maintain them provides a sustenance that is commonly forgotten.
McCarthy’s writing throughout The Road is meant to be symbolic in its imagery and metaphorical in its meaning. The use of these layered devices demonstrates that an idea of evil is present and unwanted throughout the novel; however the separation of evil and good is confused in a world where murder and cannibalism have become commonplace. Even the father, whom we are shown to have survived the unknown circumstances leading to this dreary apocalypse, realizes this argument within himself. This internal struggle yields McCarthy’s sledgehammer wisdom in the man’s lessons to his son with lines akin to: , “There is no God and we are his prophets” and “There is nothing to live by no good no bad yet we do with our own morality” (McCarthy 118 & 137). These harsh words show the headache of morality in a time when it’s guidance is necessary. A careful line is walked when the idea that no boundary, no restraint of good and evil is applicable anymore if it ever was, but these restraints are necessary for meaning less one sheds them and instinct take over. So the father and his son remain shackled in their beliefs that belonged to a world destroyed keeping their faith that survival depends on the mentality they have...