Symbolism Of The Journey In Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

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The novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy is about a father and his son trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world where all that is left is ash and death. They spend the novel traveling south to the coast in order to improve their chances of survival through the impending winter. Throughout the novel they act as pilgrims exploring the new world left behind by the catastrophic event that has rendered the world ultimately void of all life aside from a few humans, most of which have abandoned their morality in favor of a more animalistic survival instinct. The destination of this journey is to reach the coast, but it is the adaptation and replacement of what humanity used to be into what it is now that the book emphasizes. This change is shown …show more content…
There are no exclamation points, there are few moments when stress exceeds the normal and expected worries of their next meal and shelter. Yet despite all of this, the book is able to provide the reader with ample evidence of the symbolism of the journey itself which is representative of the boys growth over time and what it means. In the very beginning of the book the boy asked questions and was generally a positive force in the book, as most children are. However by the end of the book he had learned the real law of the land and was even suspicious of someone trying to help him survive at the end of the book as exemplified by him asking “How would I know if you’re one of the good guys?” (McCarthy 281) to which the man replied that the boy would just have to take a chance. after all the boy has seen on the trek south, he has grown weary of other people, and he even asks the man if they eat their children because of all of the times he has witnessed cannibalism on the road. Even after going through this hellish voyage, the boy retains his urge to do good and help the people he encounters, even those who’ve wronged him like the thief who attempted to steal everything they had. Upon catching the thief, the father had him strip down to nothing while the boy begged the father to just let him be. even after they left the thief the boy did not stop grieving until the father placed the clothes back in the pavement for the thief to return to (McCormick 256). This young and naive child has grown into an unforgiving world and yet he remains unknowing of exactly how hard he has it because it is all he has ever known. This child was born into this new world order yet retains every ounce of goodwill he had at the start. The boy learning how to survive and growing under the father is symbolic of the human race growing and adapting to these new conditions

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