The Road is a Post-apocalyptic Novel by the American Writer Cormac Mccarthy


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The metamorphic and literal aspects vary from old to new worlds; however, father-son rituals of the old world are similar in the new world as exhibited in ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy.

The novel presents the story of a father and a son who belong to the post-apocalyptic world. McCarthy has portrayed a dark world that has a light of love bonding between father and son relationship. The story is about their journey on US roads towards the South. The environment and the new world are remnants of the old world where few amenities are available. The father and son, along their journey, undergo different events that highlight the strength of their relationship. The feeling of protection, care, and affection father possesses for his son is similar to the old world. For instance, from the start of the journey, the father keeps a pistol with him to protect the boy. Both wander around remnants of the old world, and man remembers about the life he lived once with his wife. At different places, they move, man always thinks about his boy, e.g., at a grocery store, a man finds Coca-Cola in a pop machine and retrieves it for the boy. He wants to offer some pleasant moments for the boy.

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The story provides an idea about reality and gives real-life lessons that man wants her boy to comprehend. Man as a father wants to teach a lesson to his son, such as he explains son that road agents or bad guys always harm others, but they are good guys themselves who believe in justice, care and humanity. During their journey, when they come across a waterfall, the father teaches the boy how to swim. Being a tender moment, the event suggests a lesson that father gives his son and it is again similar to the rituals of the old world, where father acts like a teacher in different instances of life.

The novel demonstrates that the prevalence of love in the toughest moments of life is consistent in new and old worlds. The father-son bonding is unique, unconditional, and continuous through the dystopian world. Despite limited resources, fewer supplies of food and clothing, and starving father supports son and arranges something to eat for him. The love and care of the father can be seen when they go to a town, and in the house, man cuts his boy’s hair and shaves. The man considers his son a holy object, something sacred which is gifted by God. He also thinks that son is a kind of light bestowed on him by God, and it is proof that God exists. During their journey, the man finds an old orchard of dried apples and collects them for the boy. During the pressing, cold, rain, and starving moments, man thinks about the future of his son and plans to push his son regarding extreme measures for his survival.

The intense bonding of father-son allows for sacrifice and commitment. Since the son is the only light of the dark life of the father, he wants to lit his future and fosters onto carrying the fire that can help him make his way, after his father. McCarthy has also presented some emblematic and physical divergences in two generations, i.e., father and son.

Concluding the analysis, it is clear that ‘The Road’ offers a physical setting in the form of the journey on-road as well as the mental environment of a father. Common teaching elements that the father taught his son are about peace, justice, humanity, love, being helpful to others, and never giving up. The novel presents the journey of a person with multiple obstacles, yet if positive lessons are there, troubles can be overcome. McCarthy, through a cyclical human nature, offers clarity of life and presence of God.

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