Themes and style in "The Road", written by Cormac McCarthy.

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The Road, written by Cormac McCarthy, is a dystopian novel where a man and a boy are trying to survive in a world where moral and order have disappeared, driving humans to commit deliberate acts of cannibalism and murder. It represents the desire of never losing your principles, even if you are starving or dying. It also shows the strong relationship between an unnamed father and his son.  In this outline, I will describe main themes that surround the story, such as social conditions, setting statement, and the relation between dreams and reality. Besides that, I will also introduce the stylistic features that are included in this novel.

  1. Place, time and weather conditions

  1. Place and Temporality

  1. The story starts in a post-apocalyptic world that is destroyed and covered with ash.
  1.  “Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world” (Page 1. The Road)
  2. “Ash moving over the road and the sagging hands of blind wire strung from the blackened lightpoles whining thinly in the wind” (Page 2. The Road)
  3. Cars in the street caked with ash, everything covered with ash and dust. (Page 1. The Road)
  1. Vegetation has died because of the apocalyptic event that took place in the past, which eradicate almost every life signal. Buildings and houses were destroyed and isolation is present.
  1. “The segments of road down there among the dead trees. Looking for anything of color.” (Page 2. The Road)
  2. A burned house in a clearing and beyond that a reach of meadow-lands stark and gray and a raw red mudbank where a roadworks lay abandoned” (Page 3. The Road)

  1. Time and place are never mentioned as specific decades or locations, but we can deduce that the boy and the man are walking in what once was a developed country with roads, houses and gas stations. Time can be inferred by technology that the book includes such as cars and televisions. Clearly, the story is set in a near future.
  1. “There was an antique pumporgan in the corner. A television set also.” (Page 6. The Road)
  2. On the outskirts of the city they came to a supermarket. A few old cars in the trashstrewn parking lot.” (Page 7. The Road)

  1. Setting is a crucial and essential condition because later on, ash and destruction will be primary causes of the man’s death. Ash drove him sick because of breathing dust and polluted air.  At the end of the book, he dies leaving the child alone, although we are not sure if the arrow in his leg was the main cause of his eternal rest.
  1. ”Slogging to the edge of the road with his back to the child where he stood bent with his hands on his knees, coughing. He raised up and stood with weeping eyes. On the gray snow a fine mist of blood” (Page 9. The Road)

  1. “He slept close to his father that night and held him but when he woke in the morning his father was cold and stiff. He sat there a long time weeping and then he got up and walked out through the woods to the road. When he came back he knelt beside his father and held his cold hand and said his name over and over again. He never woke up.” (Page 91. The Road)

  1. Weather

  1. Weather is extremely cold, so life conditions and surviving chances decrease as temperature stays below freezing. You can’t read more than three pages before finding a concept related to cold.
  1. “When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him” (Page 1. The Road)
  2. “You're freezing, aren’t you? Yes. If we stop we'll get really cold. I'm really cold now. What do you want to do?”- Dialogue between the man and the child. (Page 39. The Road)

  1. One of the main purposes of moving south is finding better weather conditions, because where they were, cold and wind made the desire of surviving more complicated and demanding.  Besides that, winter was coming and the best alternative was moving on.
  1. “They were moving south. There'd be no surviving another winter here” (Page 1. The Road)
  2. “And we're still going south. Yes. So we'll be warm. Yes. Okay.” (Page 3. The Road)
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  1. Weather plays an important role in this book because it creates worse conditions for the boy and the man while they´re are trying not to freeze. Besides that, it makes a languishing and desolating environment for the reader.
  1. ”Where all was burnt to ash before them no fires were to be had and the nights were long and dark and cold beyond anything they'd yet encountered. Cold to crack the stones. To take your life.” (Page 4. The Road)
  2. “Their feet were wet and cold and their shoes ...

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