Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Road

I  think Cormac McCarthy does not tell his readers the exact event that causes the destruction of the United States because the event does not really matter.  It is the reaction of the characters to the event which is the point of the story.  I assume it is a nuclear war on page 52 it says, "A long shear of light and then a series of low concussions." Also, "A dull rose glow in the windowglass." (52) It suggests a nuclear blast also the sun is blocked by clouds and the temperature is always cold even though they are heading south.  But I think the main point of the story is to experience this new existence through the eyes of the man and the boy.  The world is bleak and cold and burnt out and they are trying to remain human and sane in an insane and dangerous world. McCarthy raises some interesting questions like is it good to be a survivor in a world that is so bleak and scary to live in?  Maybe it is better to die and not have to experience grim existence that the man and the boy are living through.


  1. I always find it interesting in dystopian novels to see how they handle it. The Hunger Games tells us what happened to create the 12 districts and the Capital that they are living in - however it is supposed to be the United States, and anything resembling what we think of as society has long been forgotten. The Maze Runner series tells us every bit of it throughout the course of the books plus a prequel - it's interesting to allow your readers minds to wander and create their own worst fear. It does get frustrating though sometimes if the writer doesn't seem to put enough effort or clues in. I think McCarthy has done a good job so far, do you?

    1. I think dystopian novels (as opposed to post-apocalyptic) novels almost have to give the history because the point is the social criticism of how society has gone wrong...

  2. I agree: the event itself is not what is important here. McCarthy instead places his importance on his characters, and how they go about in this world. What we see here are two characters who aren't spending a ton of time reflecting (well I'm sure they are, but not that we are 100% informed on), they are working to survive. That element is important to the tone of the novel.

  3. I also think that McCarthy doesn't describe what happened as a way to avoid what Baudrillard calls "disaster porn." This is not a narrative in which you revel in seeing society destroyed; it is an elegy for all that is lost...