Symbolism in the Road

Topics: Cormac McCarthy, Symbol, Viggo Mortensen Pages: 3 (1014 words) Published: May 15, 2011
In McCarthy’s book, The Road, McCarthy is able to illustrate not only the setting of the book, but feelings, expressions, and actions, by various literary devices. Although he brought into play several devices such as: imagery, tone, metaphors, and a couple of similes, the most significant would have to be symbolism. Symbolism is when the author uses an object or reference to add deeper meaning to a story. The author may constantly use the same object to express deeper meaning. Symbolism is also often used to support a literary theme in a subtle manner, which in this case is what McCarthy did. An example of symbolism, and the most noteworthy would have to be the road. Just like that, the plain road. McCarthy refers to the road on several instances, thus making it imperative to the novel. The road symbolizes hope, as well as courage. The road means that for them it is the only hope of surviving. Hope that when they get to the end of that road they will be safe in a safe place. It also represents courage because they have the bravery of going on without knowing anything about the road, courage of going into the unknown. Not knowing what awaits them. Another example of symbolism is when the man tells the boy that he they are the only ones carrying the fire. In this quote the man refers to fire as being a symbol of them being the only ones left who have feelings in the world, who have a conscience, who still hold true to things that make us human, like empathy, hope, love and the will to survive without sacrificing your beliefs, things other people in this new world have lost. Compared to the others, “the bad guys,” The man and his son don’t kill, they don’t steal from the living, they help where it’s possible to do so, and, most importantly in the novel’s symbolism, they don’t eat other people, which can differ you from “good” and “bad.” Another example of symbolism is the mirror. The man and the boy went into a house and as they turned around a corner there was...
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