Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is set sometime in the future after a global catastrophe. The Road follows the story of a nameless father and son, possibly the last of the “good guys”, as they travel along an abandoned stretch of highway populated with occasional marauders and cannibals. The post-apocalyptic setting plays upon the public’s fear of terrorism, pandemics, genocide, and weapons of mass destruction. Since the cause of the destruction remains unanswered, it is left open to the mind to make assumptions. The Roadi is set somewhere in the south eastern United States. There is mention of distant mountains, several rivers and creeks, and a coastline. The landscape and the air are soaked in thick, gray ash. Vegetation has been destroyed. There are no fish in the water. When snow falls, it collects the ash in the air and falls to the earth already gray. The setting is the main antagonist in the book, because it is the number one adversity the father and son have to endure. This creates the theme as the father continually struggles to keep his faith and “carry the fire”. The hardship he faces with his son makes him question his faith in humanity and god, but in the end, it is his son who makes him see that your can always have hope in the most difficult of times.
The boy and the man continually search among the debris in the aftermath of the cataclysmic event for morsels of food and warmth. Though they are forced to breathe thick ash in the air and travel in constant cold, they continually trudge forward. It is apparent that the father is slowly losing his faith in humanity and their situation, and parts of him wish it could just all be over. They must find food and clean water, and they must constantly hide. There are marauding groups of cannibals who look upon the man and boy as nothing more than meat. The lone bullet in the man’s gun is saved for the boy, who has been instructed on how to kill himself should something happen to the man. This...
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