Symbolism In The Road, By Cormac Mccarthy

1112 Words 4 Pages
Whether the main characters are survivors, or “the walking dead in a horror film” (Cormac McCarthy 55), they are “carrying the fire” (McCarthy 129) within themselves on a journey in hope to recover the civilization that had vanished in the world of depravity. McCarthy’s The Road follows the journey of a father and young boy who travel the path of a road that leads to nowhere, searching to find a way to renew the faith in humanity after an unexplained apocalypse. The setting of the apocalypse was caused by the destruction of humans and their own selfish desires for power. The setting and climate both reflect the situation of human species along with their loss of faith. This is expressed by examining the setting and climate of the novel.
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Throughout the father and the son’s journey, the constant snowing is used to represent those who have died from the destruction in the “dead landscape of ashes and gray snow.” (Madsen 1-2) The father and son experience death of a peer everyday, but they never properly mourn for those who have died, since they have to keep moving on their journey. The only person who was mourned was the father when he died and the boy “slept close to his father that night and held him” (McCarthy 281). The climate of the story produces a mood of despair and sadness which comes hand in hand with the depressing atmosphere. Ash is an after effect of the burning of fire, a “biblical resonance”. (Schaub 2) Like the phoenix in mythology, fire is used to represent resurrection. With their land completely wiped out forcing them to go through a new start, “all natural signs have been turned to ash–can no longer use these signs as symbols of spiritual facts.” (Schaub 4) This theory invokes the thought that any spiritual faith the father or son had, was obliterated, for it no longer exists. The father sits in the ash and looks up in the sky and asks “Are you there?...Will I see you at last?...Damn you internally have you a soul? Oh God, he whispered. Oh God” (McCarthy 12). Unfortunately, the father receives no reply from the God …show more content…
The author gradually drags the plot on the same way how the father slowly dies one cough of blood at a time. If the novel was action packed and quick paced, the effects won’t be the same, having said the “lack of action or plot movement is important to the story” (Madsen 2). The dialogue between the father and son also remain plain, simple and dry, paralleling the wasteland, which has been reduced to almost nothing. They communicate in factual matters since emotions no longer matter in their demolished world. The conversations consists of “okay” and “I don’t know”, their “dialogue is as spare (and as powerful) as the landscape” (Semeiks 2). The father and son don’t express their love in conversation, but through action. Having suffered through the apocalypse, it’s only reasonable for the two to have a loss of words since the “nothingness of the landscape is all-consuming” (Madsen 2). McCarthy’s writing style was done informally lacking quotations and needed apostrophes, demonstrating that in times like this, little things “dont” (McCarthy 242) need to

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