The Need Of Survival In The Book “The Road” By Cormac Mccarthy

April 28, 2022 by Essay Writer

Many people believe that life is a fancy word humans use to hide the pain that exists beneath it. That humans don’t actually live as they wished when they were little. They think, that what they do, by waking up in the morning, going to work in order to make a living is actually surviving. Surviving in this world, a world full of sadness, misery and desolation. But is that it? Is that all things life offers us? Almost a century full of pain? Maybe some people just don’t realise what these two words mean, or what survival and life actually are. The Road by Cormac McCarthy, details the numerous obstacles a man and his son face, in an attempt for survival in a post-apocalyptic world. With a shopping cart of food and supplies, they excavate into the remains of tattered houses, torn buildings and other sheltering places, while averting from troublesome communes.

The need of survival makes the man so sharp and emotionless in his words and actions that he refuses to help strangers they encounter even if they are in awful conditions. For example, they come across a traveler whose name is Ely. When the son begs his father to help him, the father states that “[he doesn’t] think he should have anything” (McCarthy, 149). The father refuses to help the stranger because he is too scared to trust anybody. He knows that the only way to survive is to trust no one but himself and his own son, as well as not give even the smallest of assistance to any man, woman, or child that crosses their path, as he doesn’t know if those individuals have motives to kill them.

Later on in the book, after walking past a village, the son claims to have seen a little boy and begs his father if they can go back and get him, to which the father urges him to “stop”. (McCarthy, 80) and thinks that he is seeing things. The father does not want to go back because he doesn’t want to risk their own lives. The thirst for survival becomes greater than his moral sense, which prevents him from giving into his son. This happens again when the man and his son are robbed by a stranger. The man catches him and takes back their stuff, as well as the thief’s clothes. The son begs his father to think his actions through, however he doesn’t seem to care as “they set out along the road south with the boy crying and looking back at the nude and slat like creature standing there… Shivering and hugging himself.” (McCarthy, 229). Having faced a situation in which the man’s son was in danger, the man doesn’t show any emotion when leaving the thief naked and cold. At this point, his only goal is to survive, no matter the cost or whether he has to choose between his conscience and staying alive.

Later in the book, the father realizes how hard it is for him to lose his son. He looks back at all the atrocities he has done during this entire journey in order to keep himself and the boy alive but tries to convince his son – who is trying to lose faith – that he can’t just give up on him, at least until he knows everything is safe “When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again then you will have given up. Do you understand? And you can’t give up. I won’t let you.” (McCarthy, 202). Throughout this story, both protagonists are losing faith of a good life, little by little they are becoming more and more broken as they don’t see any kind of salvation. But, although there is only darkness, they keep hoping.Hoping they will see some kind of light that will make them know they are finally safe of this corruption and life full of death and tragedies.


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