The Road The Road discussion

weird printing???

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message 1: by Karin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin I just started this book and noticed his "contractions" do not have apostrophes. The word "don't" is "dont"
is this a weird printing error or is there a deeper meaning that I am not catching?

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

McCarthy is prose stylist. It might be confusing if you're not used to reading prose that's stylistic. I'm not sure how you would read more into the meaning of it. What McCarthy is trying to do is make sentences that are beautiful and to do that he messes with stuff like punctuation, etc.

message 3: by Karin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin I don't find the prose style confusing, as you suggest. Nor do I find the lack of apostrophe inherently "beautiful".

What I see as the "deeper meaning" I inquired about, now that I have read further into the book, is that may symbolize what is missing, scarcity and the sparseness of the landscape. Apostrophes and other punctuation marks perhaps occur elsewhere because the landscape isn't completely bare.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

I think he's too lazy to use proper punctuation.


message 5: by Donald (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Donald I think you guys are reading too much into it. Maybe his apostrophe and quotation key on the keyboard is just broken (think about it—same key). Then the copy editors at his publishing house thought it was a stylistic statement, so they didn't correct it.

message 6: by Karin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin I think between Brendan and Donald we have figured it out! Thanks guys! I am no longer "confused". ;)

message 7: by Ann M (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ann M I think Donald put his finger on the problem in general with this book -- no editor would make the necessary corrections-- Um, Cormac, what exactly happened, and if everything is covered with ash, how is anyone still alive. What are they living on? Also, why do starving people keep needing haircuts?? I've noticed this with other literary big shots.

(Not the haircuts.)

message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 20, 2007 06:50PM) (new)

There aren't any apostrophes in his donts as far back as All the Pretty Horses (1992) and Blood Meridian (1985). He might have always written dont. So much for the riddle of the dont.

message 9: by Karin (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin True. The mystery is still not solved. I prefer the inquiry to having all the answers.

Ann you are one witty lady. :)

message 10: by Shannon (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Shannon I'm halfway through this book, enjoying it, but I find the lack of punctuation kind of annoying. Maybe because I'm anal, but I like punctuation.

George I found this very weird at first. I'm not gonna lie. But once the story grabs you, it's funny how your mind doesn't even notice any of the punctuation missing. It kinda sorts everything out for you and keeps you moving in a trance-like state through the pages. Its's kinda like reading movie sub-titles for the first time. You're like "okay, this is gonna suck", and then what happened?? I'll tell you. You forgot the movie even had any sub-titles. (well it was that way for me anyway)

message 12: by Jeff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff yes, clearly McCarthy is a lazy writer

message 13: by Adam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Adam I think he just doenst like to include them. I personally cant stand pausing when I write to use them.

Shannon (Giraffe Days) I just finished it yesterday, and loved it. I noticed not only the lack of apostrophes in certain words but also the lack of other punctuation - commas, em dashes, semicolons etc. It made for a very simplistic style, and (I'm sorry to take away from the ironic bantering of everyone else but I love this kind of stuff), it suited very much the tone and setting of the novel. I normally find any mistake in spelling or punctuation incredibly annoying, but after the first "huh?" stumble, I picked up the rhythm of what he was trying to do and ran with it.

In terms of style, everything is reduced to its basic function and feature, there're no frills or anything. The land is devastated, stark, desolate. The language it's written in is much the same, stripped down to the essentials, though "the man" still retains the old world's yearning for beauty and hope. You'll notice he uses a lot of "ands" to string clauses and descriptions together. McCarthy has masterful control of language and style, and it's very deliberate and precise.

I haven't read any of his other works, but I felt that the way he wrote The Road was very much a part of, or reflection of, the story itself. Does that make sense?

Donald Shannon,

It would make sense if this was the only book he used this style. But he always writes this way. To me, it was pompous and pretentious, and I think he is a good enough writer not to have to stoop to such tricks.

Shannon (Giraffe Days) Ah, I've not read any of his other books, and I doubt the style would actually suit his other works from what I've heard their about. I was impressed with how this was written, and assumed it was designed for this book alone. Shame. But I still loved it.

Ann M I agree with Donald. I wonder, though, if seeming pompous and pretentious, in one way or another, is a quality of his demographic -- I can't read most old white guys, although I like McCarthy well enough. The grammar issues I just have to ignore like all the misspellings I constantly see everywhere (as a former copy editor).

message 18: by Alan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alan If it was style then shouldn't it be consistent? There are plenty of apostrophes in the book. The possessives all get apostrophes and some of the contractions do too. I think it's not style, rather it's schtik. Too bad; the publisher should have translated the book into English.

Anthony Ugh. He's an American author. Our refusal to use the King's English is the only thing that gives our dialect any charm. He uses contractions the way that we speak - improperly. When you read the speech of the characters, you (should, without a tin ear) see through the text in front of you and hear the people actually speaking. Shanon's right, McCarthy's style is bleak and dry. Much like his choice of locales.

I understand most people here are being ironic, but for those who aren't I genuinely feel bad for you. Maybe you guys would enjoy some lovely instruction manuals. I don't think fiction is your cup of tea.

message 20: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan I can't believe the commentary about this book focuses on the apostrophe.

message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

Cormac and Oprah talk about punctuation:

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