Friday, December 5, 2014

Dinosaurs and Crows

The man describes a dream, on where he's visited by a being not of his own world. And when he wakes up he makes the realization that he is the alien. He's from a world that's nothing like the one he lives in now. His son knows nothing of what he grew up with other than the stories that he's told him. (McCarthy 154). That's an odd realization that the man makes but it echos throughout the rest of this portion of the story. When the man and his son are discussing crows, the boy asks him whether or not they still exist, whether he'll ever see a crow for himself. For us seeing a crow is just a matter of looking out the window but in this new post apocalyptic world seeing a crow is as unlikely as walking down the street to see a dinosaur, they're all gone. They're dead in the ground and they'll never be anymore of them. Except in books. "Just in books? Yes. Just in books." (McCarthy 158). To me that's astounding, the boys entire world almost exists in a fairytale, at least his dreams. His reality is so grim, so barren that he lives off of the truths and the memories of his father. Stories of animals that have long since ceased to exist, stories of his mother, and a world where people weren't just good guys and bad guys. Where there were doctors and lawyers and teachers, none of that exists anymore except for in the mans memories and his sharing of these stories with his son in a way keeps them alive, because eventually they won't be anyones memories anymore and the only thing that will exist is the vast expanse of nothingness and the eventual demise of humanity. McCarthy does a great job of reminding us how important the trust the boy holds in his fathers stories really is. In a conversation between the two of them the boy expresses just how important it is that he believes everything his father tells him. "I always believe you. I dont think so. Yes I do. I have to." (McCarthy 185). It's such a matter of fact statment but it's because the father doesn't realize that if the boy doesn't trust him, if he doesn't just accept what his father says as honest and true that he couldn't trust anything because all he knows is what he's been taught by him. Why there are bad people, why his mother died, why they can't care for and take in everyone and yet are still the good guys. He's too young to fully understand but he knows that his father is ultimately looking out for their well being and only taking care of him the best that he can. 

Is is wrong for the father to fill his sons mind with stories of a world that will never exist again? Should he give him this false hope or is it something else? Do the stories give the boy an innocence, a drive in imagination? Something to keep going in a world so bleak?


  1. I definitely believe in giving him the stories as something to keep him going. I think if you don't have at least an glimpse of what the world COULD be, why would you go on? Those stories and images will stay with the boy as he grows up, and even once he's on his own (after his father is gone, something that comes sooner than they expect) and when he is old enough to make more of an informed decision about his future in this bleak wasteland their world has become - what would keep him going other than the idea, or in his mind, the FACT - that there are Good People and Bad People? I think the stories are not just to help the boy now, but his father is telling them to him to set him up for the future. He's giving him a cause, because right now the father's cause is his son, and that's enough.

    1. I completely agree with you, the father needs the stories I think too. I Think they also give him purpose to know he's giving his son the history of the world as he knew it. Letting him know what's possible, and teaching him how to determine good from bad. I think it's better for the son to know these things also too because if they never come to be while he's alive it still gives him insight into who his father was. Especially since his father dies when he's so young, he's filled with stories of who is father was and knows his father so well that in his death is still able to communicate with him. And that's important because he's the only family he might ever have. Who knows but if the stories bring him hope then that's huge, especially in the world he's forced to live in.