Cormac McCarthy's "THE ROAD" discussion


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message 1: by Delos105 (new)

Delos105 | 16 comments Mod
Speaking of the last third of the book, in which we await their arrival to the ocean/sea, how anti-climactic was that?

For one, it does make you re-think the true purpose of their journey. One may ask, how may the deterioration of nature adds to the plot? Does it focus our attention to a bigger picture in the essence of a vastness landscape that has swallowed all who have challenged to endeavor its unkind terrain? Any opinions?

In my opinion, it's almost as if McCarthy has dragged us on this journey in hopes to find a solution at the end. But what's expected doesn't show. It makes me think of an underlying lesson of one's perspective of life as it portrays the true definition of life as the survival of the fittest. For it takes a fighter, to be the hope for the future.

message 2: by Taked101 (new)

Taked101 | 11 comments I feel that McCarthy took a little bit too much time taking us along the journey to the ocean. However, I think it was important that he did drag it out to represent how repetitive their journey was. Also, I feel that the arrival was anticlimactic because that is what the boy felt when he saw it. He was not overenthusiastic to be there; the color was not blue like he'd imagined and there was a feeling of disappointment in the boy.

message 3: by Delos105 (new)

Delos105 | 16 comments Mod
Also to note, is the fact that the novel does not necessarily begin at the start of their journey, or in other words the actual "event" which put them in this situation in the first place. Therefore, McCarthy has literally been dragging out the story for a while.

In an essence, I think McCarthy's cloud of obscurity is clever for it supports the apocalyptic nature of the book. It's kind of a expect the unexpected theme that circulates this book to thus have the readers actively participate upon their read.

Also in response to Courtney, I do agree that like the scene with the ocean, we can see that the book doesn't necessarily just define setting as an environment, but an atmospheric mood.

Which then make me think of the juxtaposition of the lackluster landscapes which fill the readers of black and gray imagery and the fire, which fills the readers of a shortburst of color. For as Courtney stated, the ocean was not even blue. Which once again may point to the lack of purity within this society of cannibals. Then perhaps the fervent flame of a fire strengthens the symbolic ideal of a sense of hope within all the disappointment and degradation?

message 4: by Erwin100 (new)

Erwin100 | 7 comments I definitely agree that the environment affected their moods. It pretty much set the tone for the story. The setting was always described in great detail as well. Maybe McCarthy wanted us to focus more on their surroundings than the actual journey itself. It seemed to be teling a story as well. From the burned forests, you could tell that some part of the unexplained apocalyptic event caused it. When there were images of cannibalism, you could gather that people were starting to drastically change their morals and try to do anything to survive.

message 5: by Britne (new)

Britne (golds120) | 12 comments I also feel that the actually getting to the coast was disappointing and anticlimactic. It seemed as though i was always interested in what might be waiting for them there, but nothing really was, except the father's death.

The whole journey was so much more descriptive and interesting than the actual destination. It makes me think of the quote, It is not the destination we are after, but the journey."

I also agree with Marissa about the novel starting in the middle of their journey. It bothered me that we never got to read, or experience as readers, the actual apocalypse that happened and that we never actually actually find out what it was.

message 6: by Delos105 (new)

Delos105 | 16 comments Mod
Interesting point, Amanda. So McCarthy's increase in focus on the environment was only a tool to enhance the internalized journey within the characters.

Going back to our first discussion, I brought up an idea of a parallel to Noah's ark and the idea of a second chance. Thus speaking of the environment, or atmospheric mood, could this apply?

message 7: by Britne (new)

Britne (golds120) | 12 comments Thats a good point, Marissa. I believe that the atmospheric mood could be a parallel with the idea of second chances. It could even go into a spiritual sense, digging down into emotions and even morals.

message 8: by Erwin100 (new)

Erwin100 | 7 comments It does seem that the worlds is in need of repair after all of this destruction, so I could definitely see another "Noah's Ark" become a possibility. I just wonder how long it would be until things become somewhat normal and living conditions are improved. The novel said that it had already been about 5 years or so since the event and it looks like not much could be done to fix the world.

message 9: by Delos105 (new)

Delos105 | 16 comments Mod
Very true! For some reason, I'm thinking that the timeline of this story has extreme importance, yet I can't exactly pinpoint it. Maybe it could point to the fact that it is our nature to be impatient, and thus result to anger and frustration in the time it takes for bad situations to turn good. Which kind of points back to the young age of the boy, and how maybe the fire may burn fervently within his innocence, it may take a long time for the internal fire to become externalized.

message 10: by Taked101 (new)

Taked101 | 11 comments I also agree that Noah's Ark applies to this situation. As Britne said the community is in need of a reconstruction, but it would take a good deal of time to get it back to normal. I think that even though the community needs to reconstruct, it would be very difficult to even find a group that would work together especially because everyone is so hostile and skeptical of one another.

message 11: by John (new)

John (johnmatthewfox) "So McCarthy's increase in focus on the environment was only a tool to enhance the internalized journey within the characters."

That's a nice way of putting it.

For everyone that said the arrival to the coast was anticlimactic, Cormac meant it that way, right? You supposed to feel deeply disappointed that the water is not blue and there is no salvation in sight. It dovetails nicely with the depressing state of the natural world throughout the entire book.

I think Cormac made that the low point in their journey because he needed a rise in the last section. You can only feel a slight glimmer of hope for the boy once you have realized the futility of the ocean and the death of the father. I think of it musically -- you need to sink to the low notes to emphasize the high notes.

message 12: by Britne (new)

Britne (golds120) | 12 comments Thats very true. I do see now that it was strategical in making that scene a low point. I was thinking that it should have been a high point, the climax, since that is what what the characters were heading towards the whole time, but now it makes sense that the coast wasnt actually the climax, but the father dying was.

message 13: by Taked101 (new)

Taked101 | 11 comments I agree with Prof Fox. If the arrival to the ocean was a high note, it would ruin the tone of the book. McCarthy spends the whole novel describing the horrible conditions and how black, white, and gray everything was and if he suddenly made the ocean blue, which is what most people were hoping for, it would change the mood of the book from depressing to hopeful. Along the lines of what Prof Fox said, we have to be constantly disappointed in order for the end of the novel to seem like a high note.

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