The Theme Of Sacrifice In The Road By Cormac Mccarthy

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American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter, Cormac McCarthy has received numerous positive reviews and awards for his realism that is found in his portrayal of a post-apocalyptic America in The Road. Instead of having the plot drive the story, McCarthy focuses on the daily struggles of the protagonists: a father and his son. Nevertheless, McCarthy creates verisimilitude through the exploration of his character's emotions. Having the characters become the main focus of the novel strengthens the emotional attachment of the reader. In this context, McCarthy uses dreams in “The Road” to provide more background on the man’s emotional traumas leading to his physical and mental decline, to illustrate the themes of love and sacrifice and to …show more content…
This is demonstrated in the man’s second dream as the fate of his wife is revealed: After the birth of her son, she decided their situation were too disastrous, consequently, she abandons the man and her newborn son and commits suicide. In his dream, the author describes how his “pale bride came to him out of a green and leafy canopy,” to highlights that despite the fact that his wife abandoned him and her son, he still misses her greatly and turns to her for guidance, insight, and comfort. The wife’s pureness is portrayed by her “pale skin”(2) and “dress of gauze”(2). Furthermore, even though the woman is portrayed as a beautiful goddess-like figure, her “downturned eyes” may demonstrate how the calamity of her death changed his and his son’s perception of her. The man’s dreams about his wife are prevalent in the novel since it is easier for him to live in those than to face reality. However, when the man awakens, he notices the “beads of small gray ice strung along the light-wires overhead”. This grim and snowy illustration of their surroundings contrasts the beautiful, nature-filled and exuberant greenery portrayed in his dream. As a result, McCarthy is able to portray the feelings of disconnect the man has towards his wife. He knows he will eventually die and be reunited with his wife; however, his subliminal thoughts want to hold on to …show more content…
The melancholy imagery involved in the boy’s dreams convoy the boy's preparedness to challenge reality on his own. This is evident in a way that in all his dreams, the boy is either looking for or is traveling alongside his father; however, in the final dream, the boy ventures forth into the blackness of the cave on his own. This demonstrates his readiness to be independent and define his own path. Additionally, when the father is becoming sicker and weak, the man awakes from his sleep by the sobs of his son. The boy explains how in his dream, he “was crying but you didn’t wake up.” (183) This alludes to the father’s death and hints at the fact that the boy understands the feeble state of his father, knowing he will be left alone.This is a turning point in the novel as the boy recognizes the weight of the situation and the responsibilities that he will soon have when his father is gone. Furthermore, as previously stated the boy means a lot to the father, however, this dream demonstrates that the boy feels the same way about his father and loves him dearly. In addition, the boy explains how he had a dream “in that house that [they] used to live in,” in which one of his toy penguins “came around the corner but nobody wound it up and it was really scary.” This dream highlights a childish

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