The Double Death Of Humanity In Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
The famous phrase: “the simplest things are usually the most difficult to understand,” well suited to the book Cormac McCarthy’s Road. Indeed, before us, it would seem, is almost a classic story of the journey, from point A to point B. Between these places we are simultaneously exposed to the world around us, and the author Cormac McCarthy shows the development of the characters, the changes that they undergo throughout the journey along the Road. In the novel The Road, there are only two characters whose names we do not know, and a bit of an impersonal second plan where we hear another name, it’s possible that we’ve made it up (Eli). Almost absent detailing of the world of that very road and the open ending of Cormac McCarthy with the possibility of a variety of guesses, as far as the imagination. And here is an amazing feature of the book Road. Cormac McCarthy really did not give us a thoughtful world, where the author carefully places everything on the shelves, about the causes and consequences, about the characters of the characters, about the surrounding world, to the smallest detail. Instead, he created a field of artistic reality, a kind of ideological template, a framework that we, the readers, fill with our own world of thoughts and fantasies, as far as individuality allows. When the author writes about how the father and son find the consequences of a terrible picnic, where a newborn baby was cooked at the stake, it would seem that all readers should present the same picture. But Cormac McCarthy superficially delivers a snippet of information, allowing you to figure out the events that have unfolded here, the images of those strangers on the road, the consequences of what happened, how the place of this sinister supper did. We read about the cache with food, with hygiene products and even clothes, which are found by the heroes of the Road after a long journey of deprivation.
There is a list of a number of benefits that are here, but without details. The reader himself fills this general image of the bunker with his fantasies or desires. Finally, the Road itself is described as a dead road without traces of vegetation or living creatures, where everything is covered with ashes and signs of an approaching winter. It’s hard to imagine how this clouded world can look better in the summer. Two key characters in the novel The road is referred to as The man and The boy. Sometimes Father (father) and Son (son). Such stinginess of synonyms, as each time the author Cormac McCarthy presents his characters, well reflects the emptiness in the world around them. Where for a long time are not important the names or surnames, the attributes of a past life, the very past before the post apocalypse. We need only know the degree of kinship that connects these two travelers on the road. Throughout the history of The Road, they conduct brief conversations with other unnamed characters, but it is through the conversations of these two that the story unfolds.
The text does not differ in the depth of the thought shown, stylistic refinement or eloquence. Again, this format of the book The Road even more immerses into the atmosphere of a gloomy world around where the lengthy reasoning has remained in the past. Where we do not know who worked or how the man lived before all that happened. His son was born after an unknown catastrophe. He did not go to school, did not watch movies or read books. Since his birth, his social circle was limited to the family and a few travelers on the road. The simple communication of heroes in The Road emphasizes that in the world after the end, dotted with ashes, there is no room for philosophical sayings. For this and many other virtues, Cormac McCarthy’s Road has been awarded several prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for a work of art.
The concept of traveling from point A to point B requires the characters through which this path is revealed, through their interaction or inner world. In our case, The man and The boy, the Father and the Son are the simplest, but effective choice of the author of Cormac McCarthy – family ties. For the man who saw the former world in his former glory, the present Road is the way of life for his son. He himself coughs up blood and does not help. The man protects the only thing that keeps his life alive – his son. For him, he – a piece of the old life, the former world, where there was still no ash and cannibalism. The boy has never seen that world, but he is his reflection – a nested father from memories and concepts of what is good and what’s bad.
Cormac McCarthy does not voice the thoughts of the meaning of life on the forehead – Father and Son are simply moving forward, symbolizing the very flow of life that simply persists. It simply exists on the Earth, without much sense and meaning, except for the presence itself, like the Road. The boy, who is the Son, only knows this gloomy world of shelters and a permanent path. We do not disclose the details of the life that preceded the immediate events of the book Road – how it was lived by the two. How many bunkers or warehouses with supplies they came across earlier. How many trolleys from the supermarket they changed, shifting their few belongings. How long they lingered in what kind of shelter. How many thousands of hours of monotonous laconic dialogues took place between the Father and the Son and how events reflected on the road were reflected in them. These two representatives of two different generations of the world Before and After go foot in foot, supporting each other. In fact, the man himself no longer had anything light from the past – it all turned into the image of the Boy who walks next to him. As in the book, and after in the film The Road (2009), readers and viewers are remembered scenes where the Man is ready to commit an unthinkable act – to shoot his son. He is ready to do this so that the child does not fall into the bandits, is not raped, tortured with hunger, and after being eaten by a gang of dirty movers. In this case, the man himself does not care what happens after him. Not only because his life and so soon will end, but because it will not become the only component that moves his legs all these years along the road. Although time after time such a terrible decision can be avoided, these scenes are, perhaps, the apogee of the entire semantic part of the book Road. It is noteworthy that Cormac McCarthy later admitted that he drew inspiration for his heroes in his own relationship with his son and even snippets of dialogues and their tonality were reflected in the text of the work. As I noted above, Cormac McCarthy in the novel Road did not give his reader too much information about the world around him. He created a model that we fill waves with our own imagination. This increases the participation of the reader in what is happening and, accordingly, the belief in the written, in the possibility of the existence of such a joyless world of the future. People are experiencing a certain excitement from the contrast between the benefits that surround us and those bleak pictures that are painted in the works of post-apocalypse
In this sense, the book Road represents one of the darkest and most depressing pictures of the future for mankind. It seems that there are no colors of any shades here, except black and gray. There are no such descriptions in the text – the world draws imagination. And in this sense, the film Road is an almost perfect adaptation to the transfer of the atmosphere.
We do not know and are compelled, in a good creative sense, to think out the reason for such a sharp change in human civilization. Most of all, the consequences of a world nuclear war that has turned the world of the Road into a lifeless wasteland begs. The roads and the remains of cities are covered with ashes. Heroes bypass the former large cities and travel on their way through the American outback. It is possible that the former megacities simply erased from the face of the Earth
In any case, the probability of meeting people there is higher, then in cities it is more dangerous. Cold and hunger slowly kill the remaining travelers, but it’s much worse meeting people. In this world, there are fewer such travelers as the Men and the Boy, practically defenseless. They calm themselves, somehow pacifying the chaos of what is happening, calling themselves “good people”
The most dangerous event on the road is now a meeting with people. The most resilient and strong are united in gangs, which with the help of common force, violence and weapons kill travelers one by one or even several. They take their belongings and kill them. The fact is that since this world does not grow vegetation, especially in the cold season and there are no references to animals, there are only two sources of supplies. The first is the remnants of the former world, which, after so many years, are basically canned.
Canned peaches, fish and meat, vegetables. This is the resource that is not renewed now, which is getting smaller every day. With each new canned can, their reserves are increasingly difficult to find in abandoned houses or shops. Discover a warehouse on the Road – it’s incredible luck.
The second resource, which conditionally distinguish “good” from “bad” in the commemoration of a child in the book Road – human bodies. These same gangs and even small groups of people kill other travelers and eat them. In the book Road Cormac, McCarthy cites several memorable scenes, each of which conveys the gloom of this new world. Former associates in the gang without a twinge of conscience and doubt eat the body of their murdered companion. A group of men with a pregnant woman are walking along the road, and then they are cooked at the stake of the newborn.
A man and a boy find a “people’s warehouse” – a local gang keeps prisoners who, like animals, eat one by one on this horrible farm. The theme of cannibalism is that aspect of the book The Road that pushes away from it especially impressionable, but without which the gloomy world of the future will be only a beautiful fairy tale that has no connection with reality.
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