Cormac Mccarthy Symbolism In The Road

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Cormac McCarthy has a decently extensive vocabulary in his book The Road. One word he chooses to use is firedrake. Although the term technically means a fire-breathing dragon, typically from Greek mythology, McCarthy uses it in a metaphor. The man is watching his son gather wood and stoke the fire, and he refers to him as “God’s own firedrake,” (31). Of course, he does not literally mean his son is a fire-breathing dragon in this context, but rather that his son is carrying the fire they are using to keep themselves warm and make their cocoa. Firedrake serves as a symbol in this book. Throughout their journey, the man constantly reminds himself that he’s doing this all for his son, even going as far to say “the boy was all that stood between …show more content…
They both spend many nights facing the elements, be it rain, snow, or wind. Some nights, they are forced to go without it. However, much like the fire spurs the both of them on, the flames represent his son, and how he provides the man with hope and a purpose. The feeling between the man and son is mutual. Without each other, they would be lost. Neither one of them would have a reason to carry on, not to mention the fact that the son is most likely incapable of caring for himself in a post-apocalyptic world. The two are described as “each the other’s world entire,” (6). Essentially, the firedrake is a metaphor. It serves to symbolize the hope and purpose the son sparks in his father to carry on in the new …show more content…
In particular, a man was described as “lean, wiry, [and] rachitic,” (63). Rachitic can be defined as rickety, weak, or feeble. In this context, the man was described as emaciated. He was scrawny and frail, so the term rachitic is very fitting in this sense. While it is a good term for providing detail on people and their appearances in general, rachitic is also good for showing the state of the world. An apocalypse brings death and destruction, therefore most societies deteriorated upon the arrival of the post-apocalyptic world. There are no longer governments, or any form of official hierarchy that can provide rules and regulations. Every man is truly for himself. Society as a whole is rachitic, and the world is only on a steady decline. Wildfires are still burning, people are still dying, destruction is far from over. Cities have been abandoned, and people are actively seeking death rather than avoiding it at all costs. Survivors opted to go out on their own, like when the man and boy went into the barn and found “three bodies hanging from the rafters,” (17). It is important to note that the dad could have had the same fate that the three people from the barn did. In fact, had it not been for his son, he would have died long ago. Many people chose not to let their bodies decay to the point of being emaciated and rachitic, and instead chose the easy way out. One of the central themes

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