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How are traditional American values portrayed in this post-apocalyptic world of Cormac McCarthys The Road?

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How are traditional American values portrayed in this post-apocalyptic world of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road"? Final Piece. Word Count:2081 Marco DeRosa A novel entitled 'The Road' sparks the image of a journey, not necessarily one concerning movement, but an experience, where by the time you reach the 'destination' you have either witnessed something or come-by certain things which may affect you as a person, changed the way you think or possibly had an effect on your personal ethics. For example, a mental journey, whereby somebody lives through a certain period in their life and comes out the other end with a new perspective and attitude, like in J.D. Salinger's 'The Catcher in the Rye'. Another type of journey is an actual physical one 'from A to B'; at the destination in this type of journey one may feel a sense of achievement and arrive at 'B' with scores of anecdotes and stories that can range from little events that make a good joke to events which may actually change you as a person. Writing about journeys like these is a genre of writing in its own right: Travel Writing, an example being John Steinbeck's 'Travels with Charley'. ...read more.


The situation in which this child has been reared has left him matured beyond his years, an example showing this being when he asks his dad, 'You think we are going to die don't you? We're not going to die. Okay.' The child is so unfazed by the topic and it strikes me as odd and proves how even something as simple as the carefree thoughts of a child have been distorted by the world and lifestyle of the people within the America McCarthy depicts. Within the story there are two scenes that are stuck in my mind because of their vividness and brutality. Firstly, when the father and son break into a house and find dismembered, burnt people locked in the basement, a man with his legs 'gone to the hip'. These people are being held very much like poorly treated animals or cattle, probably to be eaten, because the people are so desperate for food they have resorted to what is one of the most taboo and strictly forbidden act in most societies, cannibalism. Also the setting of their incarceration is chilling and something only thought of in nightmares. ...read more.


for instance and by dropping things like the names it leaves the reader to focus more upon the father-son relationship and less on the more trivial details. The 'American Dream' is the concept of everybody reaching his or her full potential and having the ability to fulfil their hearts desire, in the land of opportunity that America is famous for. People often immigrate to America to start a business or career in either the music industry or maybe acting. In the book rather than going to America in the hope of having it all, money, glamour, the sweet life, people are trying to leave because they have nothing. It shows how different this bleak world his and how everything has turned on its head. The phrase itself, 'American Dream' was coined by James Truslow Adams in his book, published in 1931, called 'The Epic of America'; in the book his definition for it is 'that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone' but in McCarthy's world, for anyone surviving there is nothing left of the original values of America, the living are in some cases, hunted for food, their freedom compromised for fear and ultimately nothing remains as it was. ...read more.

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