The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, is a post-apocalyptic novel that explores the perseverance of a man and his son’s survival in a world full of marauders and cannibals. They travel the new gray world full of ashes that is the United States in search of food and shelter all the while in hiding. This novel is a peculiar masterpiece that has been made into a major motion picture, received a Pulitzer Prize, and has been a number one national bestseller. The story is unlike that of any novel I have ever read, and the plot seems quite mysterious at first, the storytelling method the author utilizes is highly descriptive and effective. I recommend this novel to any above average high school student who actually enjoys reading; they would absolutely love this book as it was masterfully written with excellent characters, intriguing elements of plot, and a unique style.
After taking time to reflect on each of the characters and how they progressed throughout the novel, I am quite impressed this was an amazing novel. Although there were only two characters they were well developed and fully three dimensional and very easy for readers to connect to. The character of the father was overwhelmingly powerful and determined. He continued to live and survive for the sole reason of love, he wanted to protect and take care of him until his last breath. “The one thing I can tell you is that you won’t survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body” (49). This quote was spoken by the man’s wife who is also the son’s mother. Originally the mother traveled with them but eventually decided to commit suicide to escape her hellish life. Before she died she told her husband this and left. This quote is significant for what it represents, it states clearly that the only way to live and survive through a horrible situation is to love someone, and if you don’t have any one to love with you then the only help is reflecting on the past and breathe life into a past loved one’s memory and hold them dear. Each character has a distinct personality and the author does a great job making you feel like the character is alive as you can easily understand their thoughts, behavior, as well as personality. For example the father’s role was protecting the son at all costs. As situations unfold throughout the novel it is up to him to make critical decisions that are needed to protect his son, which sometimes meant ignoring others and leaving them to die. Most of these decisions were extremely thrilling adventures and epics that keep the reader on the edge waiting to find the outcome.
The Road took place somewhere in the United States of America in a future post-apocalyptic earth. The transitions between locations were very smooth and well developed the author does a wonderful job making the reader feel as though their on the journey themselves. Event the time taken to travel and the situations felt very natural and real. The point of view was very simple and effective; most of the novel was in the third person with the rest being first-person dialogue by the various characters. The plot wasn’t amazing but the journey through was, and that’s where the magic of this book lies. It’s in the description of the situation and the journey and it is in the bond between the father and son. The plot structure of this book was very simple, with the rising action ultimately being their journey throughout the novel. The climax came at the very end when the father finally succumbs to Tuberculosis, hangs on to life for a few days, and dies in the night. The ending is somewhat unexpected as the reader is obviously wondering the future of his son, who is now all alone. The story continues and his future is learned to give somewhat of a happy ending to this dark, sad novel. What makes this book so addicting to read is that the elements of the plot happen unexpectedly and after they occur you simply have no idea what to expect next and how the characters will manage to go on, which effectively forces you to continue reading about their epic journey.
The author Cormac McCarthy has one of the most unique styles ever seen in any award winning novel to date, consists of his literary devices, syntax, and diction. The literary device of Symbols, imagery, allegory, setting, theme, and point of view were used foremost but easily almost every literary device could be found if you looked. In this novel the majority of them were used to highlight an important detail that usually would reveal several nuances about a characters personality as well as foreshadowed possible outcomes and decisions. They also served in a way to keep your mind focused and interested as I don’t remember a single moment where I was daydreaming through the pages as I wanted to learn more and more about the story. By fat the most intriguing and curious element of his style is the absence of mention of any names. Throughout the entire novel the characters names are simply variations of father and son. Another thing that was quite interesting is the amount of people in the entire story. There were only two main characters and only a couple mentions of other people. Somehow even though the plot is somewhat redundant it manages to catch the reader’s attention and emotions. Even though the man and his son are on the road or looking around for more than ninety percent of the novel the author masterfully displays his ability to keep the reader interested, not only aren’t the characters names even learned but the author never even specifically explains what happened to the world as clearly one can come to the conclusion that the author wanted to focus the entire story on the amazing bond between this father and son even in the most difficult situation. The bond shared between these two characters is heart-warming and genuine and brings great emotion to anyone reading it. The author’s diction was very important for the novel. It fit the dramatic post-apocalyptic setting and was very dark and stoic. The book was a masterpiece for those who like reading in general, or simply love apocalyptic novels, and if you like what you’ve read so far then this novel is a must read!