"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy
“The road” exposes a world that, in the notion of some unidentified, apocalyptic disaster, has resulting into a primeval condition filled with nature, beliefs, law, government, economics and many others. A man and his young son journey slowly through the wretched landscape to the sea. Theirs is a cruel life of walloping and foraging. They make their journey through the road, nevertheless sleep out of sight of it every time they can. Cruelty is what they receive from other humans on their way supported by substantial danger. The application of fiction is of considerable depth. This is with regard to fiction with relation to punctuation, imagery, point of view, repetition, and language. Fiction plays a significant role throughout the plot of the story.
The use of imagery is a remarkable aspect in the story. Moreover, through “fires on the hill” denotes the various problems that are likely to face the young man after. The story is based on what the city might look like in some years to come. For a father and son tramping day by day over a sterile, charred setting of gray, boundlessly rummaging in wasted constructions for nourishment and supplies-while trying to avoid rascal communities of cannibals-there is plentiful and evil, endurance, and God, who the father occasionally denote in distraction and anger. His heights face to the heavens: “Are you there? He whispers. Will I see you at last? Have you a neck by which to throttle you? Damn you everlastingly have you humanity? Oh God, he thought. Oh God” (Bloom 12). “The Road”may be the most acclaimed representative of post-apocalyptic fiction, a subgenre of science fiction that deals thematically with “time and eternity, death and dying, ultimate meaning and judgment, cosmic conflicts, divine and demonic forces, [and] salvation and ultimate life” (Hage 75). Post-apocalyptic fiction frequently utilizes biblical imagery and symbolism as a result, drawing upon corpus of ancient literature that two millennia of readers have consulted when considering these same universally relevant concepts.
Denoting the point of view has been focused by the writer. Only human beings remain, and those few in number. Murderous feral gangs roam the country killing and eating their fellows such is the reduced state of their being. Infants are roasted on spits and captives locked in a cellar that is in effect a larder. These monstrous happenings signal that we are present in McCarthy`s allegorical worlds, world of fiction. The impression is strengthened by the fact that neither father nor son is given a name. If this was a post-nuclear holocaust world the ubiquitous radioactivity, especially in the ash and dust, would have long since killed everybody, the “event” whatever it may have been, having occurred some years prior to the main action of the test. None of the characters encountered in the novel have any of the symptoms of radiation sickness. In this case the “nuclear holocaust” is itself a metaphorical explanation for the state of the world that McCarthy creates as his broader metaphor for the circumstance of man in the comprehension of his cosmic insignificance, powerfully signified in the book.
Imagery of the waste land is one that has recurred throughout McCarthy`s book, “The Road.” This image is reasserted more powerfully than ever before. The ash, the dust, the ubiquity of death, especially the death of nature, all contributes to this image. “He…looked out over the wasted country.” The ash and dust recalls the words of the funeral service. The imagery of the poem reverberates through the novel: “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.” “I had not thought death had undone so many…” (Hage 140).
Yet the image a reader might remember most vividly from this opening is not the father’s awakening but rather the dream that startled him to consciousness. In this dream the father “had wandered in a cave where the child led him by the hand” (McCarthy 4).McCarthy compares the geography of the cave to the “inward parts of some granitic beast” before proceeding to describe a more literal monster (McCarthy 4). The father and his son are confronted in the cave by a “creature that raised its drenching mouth from the brimstone pond and gazed into the dainty with eyes dead and white and unsighted as the eggs of spiders” (McCarthy 4). McCarthy presents this creature in gruesome terms, describing its “bowels, its beating heart [and its] . . . brain that pulsed in a dull glass bell” (McCarthy 5). By comparing the cave to a beast and then depicting it as the dwelling place of a monster, McCarthy effectively evokes the aspect of fiction (Bloom 140).
The relative lack of destructive fire imagery in “The Road”is made more obvious by the ways in which fire is used allusively and constructively within the novel. McCarthy describes sparks that “rushed upward and died in the starless dark,” calling to mind Eliphaz and his assertion that “human beings are natural to anxiety just as flickers fly upward” (McCarthy 31). The father “blew the flames to life,” mirroring the action of Genesis 2 in which God “formed man from the dust of the ground . . . and exhaled into his nostrils the sniff of life” (McCarthy 74). The father is described in meticulous detail as he “heaped on more wood and bent and wafted lightly at the base of the diminutive blaze and organized the wood with his hands, determining the fire just so” (McCarthy 72). He builds fire, controls fire, wields fire, and depends upon fire for its ability to reserve his life and that of his son. But fire clearly represents something more to these two main characters. The son repeatedly demands confirmation from his father that they are “carrying the fire” (McCarthy 83). And the father uses his affirmative responses to reassure his son that “nothing bad is going to happen” (McCarthy 2006, 83).
The father may use the image of fire because it is “less abstract that the word ‘light’ and may convey the concept of spirit in a way the boy can grasp, but in the context of the still burning holocaust of the world it represents at least the sacred fire of human spirit, in opposition to the demonic fires of apocalypse”. And while it may be true that a “person who reads cannot shake the suspicion that the father’s repeated assertion . . . is a strategy rather than a certainty, an alternative to spiritual language and forms in the lack of any groundwork for them in the world”, this strategy is nonetheless rooted in the father’s faith that his son’s continuing life represents also a persistence of morality, goodness, and decency. In fact, the father himself has already compared his son’s blond-haired head to a “golden chalice, good to house a god” (McCarthy 75). In a sense, the fire the boy believes himself to be carrying represents a literal prolongation of God’s presence in the destroyed human world. And for the father, it seems true that by “sustaining his son’s breath, he sustains not only his own capacity for life but for some belief in life’s continuance, in the value of life” (McCarthy 172).
McCarthy through his book, "The Road" explores the various aspects that are likely to recur in the future. The boy represents the current young people who are likely to face the various dangers and vulnerability to these dangers. Death is a possible outcome has the death of the man denotes. Through the first few pages of the book, McCarthy denotes the landscape outlined by ash, seclusion, and a long road to travel. Throughout the novel, both the young boy and the man suffer from exposure to inefficiency of food and exposure to cold. They run into the bad guys who try to kill or steal the young boy. However, the man shoots one of the guys on the forehead and they manage to escape. The novel continues as the boy even gets sick and problems of food impact. Finally the man is shot from a widow on the leg. He bleeds from the arrow and finally dies. In conclusion, I would like to note that the book, "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy is a presentation of imagery and fiction tangled to bring the aspects of a society exposed to various illnesses. As the young boy and the man travel through the road, they expose to the reader the various problems the society is subjected to, ranging from hunger to crime.