The Road Essay

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Prometheus, a Titan in ancient Greek mythology, stole the fire from Zeus, the ruler of all Gods, and gave it to humanity, even when Zeus strictly told him not to. As punishment, Prometheus is bound to a rock. Every day, an eagle swoops in to eat his liver, but Prometheus does not die. His liver regenerates only to be eaten again the following day. Because Prometheus “carried the fire” to humanity, his days are forever filled with torture. Similar to the situation that appears in the Cormac McCarthy’s novel, The Road, the main characters, a man and his son also “carry the fire” for the sake of mankind. “Carrying the fire”, a motif that Cormac McCarthy portrays throughout his novel, The Road, can be used to explain the reasoning behind why the two main characters, a man and his son continue to persevere in the novel’s harsh world. Perhaps the saying “carrying the fire” was only a boorish way to encourage the child to keep on going and to endure the depressing world after the father dies. But perhaps it was more, perhaps being a “good guy” and “carrying the fire are closely related with God and good morals. But why fire? Why is fire looked at as their only sense of hope when fire was what caused the world to perish and die in the first place? Why is fire the father and son’s reason to live when for many others, fire was their reason to die?

Prometheus Carrying The Fire to Mankind
The setting of The Road takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where a comet has struck the Earth, setting it and all of its inhabitants ablaze. In doing so, the Earth has become a world of desolation, loneliness, and hatred. Seeing “A charred human infant headless and gutted and blackening on the spit” (198) would portray merely one of the multiple morbid scenes that describes McCarthy’s work. In providing scenes such as the one shown, McCarthy introduces the infamous “bad guys” and the prevailing “good guys” of the story.

In the road, McCarthy portrays a single principle that...
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