The Road by Cormac McCarthy

October 1, 2009
More by this author
Cormac McCarthy is well known for his western and post-apocalyptic genres. The Road and No Country for Old Men are two of his well known novels, and they both received Pulitzer Prizes. No Country for Old Men has been transformed into a movie, and The Road is currently being turned into a movie. McCarthy became well known after publishing All the Pretty Horses, which won the National Book Award. McCarthy is considered one of the best American novelists of his time. In The Road, McCarthy keeps the book fast paced, so the book never drags on. He draws the reader in with his unique style and always fills his scenes with vivid descriptions. McCarthy always keeps the readers guessing and forces the readers to use their imaginations.
The Road is full of suspense that keeps the reader on the edge from start to finish. The book follows a father and son traveling through the post apocalyptic world. They are constantly struggling for food, shelter, and safety. They are surrounded by death and are slowly beginning to lose hope. The father is only fighting to survive so that he can protect his son. The father’s only “job is to take care of [his son]”, and “will kill anyone that touches [him].” The father does not hesitate and shoots a man through the head when he tried to grab his son. McCarthy shows how much the father loves his son by putting him through many challenges.
The conversations between the father and son are very unique and interesting. The son seems to always know the answers, but continues to ask them anyways. The son asks many of the same question to his father and usually receives a short reply. The conversations between the father and son are often gloomy and involve death. McCarthy keeps these conversations simple and short, which contributes to their loneliness. The son often asks the father if they “are going to die.” These conversations add to the dark and gloomy tone of the novel. McCarthy’s unique diction emphasizes the death all around the father and son. McCarthy keeps the reader interested by never revealing what actually happened to the earth. The earth is described as a “cold relentless circling of an intestate earth.” The reader is left guessing at what caused the destruction. There are hints left in the book about what could have happened, but they leave many possibilities open.

McCarthy does an excellent job of giving unique personalities to the father and son. The father is only concerned about the well being of him and his son. He is willing to do anything to keep his son safe, and is never concerned about the survival of others. The son is almost the exact opposite and is always concerned about the other people they see during their journey. He always wants to assist the other survivors they come across. The disagreements between the father and son always end up bringing them closer together. McCarthy brings the father’s journey to an end at the conclusion of the book. The son is left alone holding his dead father in his arms. McCarthy sums up the book with a great tragedy. The son joins another family, but the reader is left guessing at what will happen to the son as he continues his journey.

The unsuspecting twists and turns combined with McCarthy’s unique writing style make The Road a must read book. McCarthy allows the reader to use his imagination to fill in the blanks instead of giving all the details.

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