Chaojun Huang 1A
21 November 2012
Cormac McCarthy's The Road is an epic that will amaze anyone. McCarthy was raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic High School in Knoxville, then went to the University of Tennessee in 1951-52 where he majored in liberal arts. McCarthy joined the U.S. Air Force in 1953 where he served four years, spending two of them stationed in Alaska, where he hosted a radio show. He has written ten novels, spanning the Southern Gothic, Western, and Post-apocalyptic genres. In 2006, Alfred A. Knopf published The Road, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. McCarthy was granted an interview with Oprah Winfrey, who had chosen The Road for her Book Club.The Road was awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Literature, and it also won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. McCarthy was truly a great writer!
The Road opens after some unknown apocalyptic event has struck. The first few pages of the novel situate us in the landscape ash, isolation, and a long road to travel. The Boy and The Man are the main characters of the book. They suffer from exposure to cold temperatures and from a lack of food. They encounter many dangers on the road to the south. They travel inland, in a pine forest, and make it to a point where The Man can't go any farther. We're not sure if he dies from the arrow wound or the respiratory illness he's had all along, but he dies with The Boy beside him. Much of the book has been leading up to this event, and The Man's interactions with The Boy can be seen as an attempt to prepare The Boy to live in the world on his own. Luckily he encounters another family who appeared on the road. The book seems to just stop there, leaving it to the reader's imagination to find out what is next. Critics love the brain twister ending of the book, and I agree with most of them.
Allen Josephs from South Atlantic Review thinks McCarthy is very against God. That man kind is on his own. He said, “ In the novel's second fragment accumulate the evidence against God” (¶4). Josephs did not say this for no reason, he had based it off of his having evidence in the reading of The Road. A few pages in, a single snowflake sifts down: “He caught it in his hand and watched it expire there like the last host of christendom” (16). Josephs thinks that McCarthy is writing a world that God had left, what is there is all there is. There is no hope, no way out. The only people on the earth are just there waiting for there last day to come. If there's a God out there somewhere, he's not very evident. This is almost like when God in the bible flooded the earth, only this time there will not be any who survive.
I do not agree with the reviewer’s point, that McCarthy is against God. Even having just read the book one time only, I do see how McCarthy had a lot of negative ponderations on God to his story in The Road, but the most important is at the end of the story where the boy was still alive, and there is a new family that comes in. The mother of the family told the boy, “that the breath of God was pass from man to man through all of time” (241). Most of the people in the story had already given up hope, and was eating their own kind, but there were still some people left that had hope for God. They knew whatever happened must have a reason. Even they are going through a very tough time, they will still put there hand to God. The power of hope is amazing, it is truly the grace that is coming to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Kenneth Hada from the East Central University thinks the road uses light as a tool. Hada's analysis suggests that McCarthy's use of the sun and light throughout the novel hides a deeper lesson about wisdom and liberation. Hada claims that in The Road “the world becoming steadily colder and darker as human wisdom is lost”(¶6). It is here that Hada begins to suggest that in the excerpt
where the man “looked towards...
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