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Book Analysis: The Road by Cormac McCarthy – Free Essay Example

The Road is a novel and was written in 2006 by American writer Cormac McCarthy. The book is about a father and his son trying to survive an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed almost everything on planet Earth. The father is doing what he can to keep his son alive, because he could be the only child left.

Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He was born July 20, 1933 and has written ten novels, spanning the Southern Gothic, Western, and post-apocalyptic genres.

The protagonists remain somewhere in the Southeastern United States. They are following this road to a coast. Much in this novel seems to be abandoned, and they put everything useful that they find in a cart that they bring with them.

The Road begins in medias res, which means that no introduction is given. The book is always portraying, and it’s written in third person point of view. The narrator stands outside the happenings in the text, and the narrator does not change the point of view along the way. The effect of this is that everything becomes more realistic, because we get the feeling that the action is moving slowly forward, which it does for the protagonists.

The book is chronological. Sometimes the protagonists are having nightmares about things that happened in the past.

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The action is driven forward by constantly small challenges. When they find the solution to the challenge, another challenge emerges. After a challenge they usually discover that they’re missing something in form of food or clothing.

The highlight of the book is when the protagonists meet the good guys, and the future becomes brighter. The highlight is part of the ending, and the book ends with an open end.

There are not many characters in the book, and we do not get to know much about them, but mostly they are giving you bad impressions. This is because every man left is greedy for food and would do anything to get some. In the book, the protagonists are just named dad and boy. Dad and boy are often talking about the good guys and the bad guys. It is difficult for them to trust anyone and it feels like everyone is antagonists.

There are very few external descriptions of the characters in the book, and we mostly know how the characters are based on how they speak and what they do

Dad is very calm and laid-back. He’s not talking that much. He’s thinking a lot, but he likes to keep what he things to himself. He is also a clever man.

Boy is very polite and curious. He asks a lot about things. He always says what he thinks and he’s often very scared and cries a lot, because the world seems unfair to him sometimes. He is very sympathetic.

Both protagonists change as the action takes place. The boy gets tougher and tougher, while his father changes his how he does thing after how the boy reacts to his actions.

There is not much told about the background of Dad and Boy except some information about what happened to the boy’s mom. Regarding to descriptions of the environment, society and time in the book, it seems that the action happens in the present time. The technology is no longer developed, and cities are described exactly as it is in an average US city.

The descriptions describe much of the actions in the book. Since there are few utilities such as telephones or vehicles, it is difficult to get in touch with other people and it is difficult to know what is going on around the world.

I liked how McCarthy described the boy’s feelings. Some of them are deterrent, while others are heart-warming. It makes the book entertaining, and it really grabs your attention.

When I read this book, I imagined a gray sky with a lot of clouds. Everything around the protagonists seemed to be quiet and boring.

The way the author writes makes the actions seem realistic. He uses long depictions because the characters in the book have a long time to think and study things they see since everything is so quiet and calm around them.

The author is using a lot of literary devices like alliterations, similes, repetition, metaphors, personifications, symbols etc.

The road is used as a symbol and it’s the main setting throughout the book. It symbolizes the unending goal that Dad and Boy try to reach. The road is also a safer place to be, because Dad and Boy are safer when they’re moving.

The narrator metaphor to describe “the still gray serpentine of a river below the road.” It is not meant literally when the river is called a serpentine. It is a metaphor that describes the thin, meandering shape of the river.

The man recalls the conversation he had with his wife. “The woman said, “I’ve taken a new lover. He can give me what you cannot.” The man replied, “Death is not a lover.” In this example, Death personified is compared to a lover, making it both an example of personification and metaphor.

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