"The Road" by Cormac Mccarthy

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 636 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

Words: 636|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Mar 14, 2019

This passage is The Road by Cormac Mccarthy and the main theme of the text and novel in a whole is survival and relicense. It starts with the father and son who are living on the road and are really poor also have nothing but a shopping cart full of supplies as well as one backpack each just in case they had to leave the cart. In the beginning, they are trying to find out where to travel next since they know that they will not be able to survive their another winter, as a result the father decides to go down south since there is a much warmer climate. As the boy and his father travel on the road coast, they have to really scavenge for food and materials that will help them survive in the cold. The only thing that keeps them both alive is a pistol with one bullet inside it, their food, supplies, and most importantly each other.

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In this passage, McCarthy intentionally uses the man and boy as a reference of what being poor is like and not being in the supreme class. McCarthy shows this by having the father as well as the boy survive on minimum material everyday. Where McCarthy allows the reader to understand that there is no word to describe the poor within this novel instead he wanted the reader to understand that these people are poor themselves,. The author emphasizes that not everyone is supreme, as well as powerful and that there are people in this world who are fighting to survive each and every single day . The man as well as the boy are ultimately the representation of values and survival within society.

The main argument of this passage is emphasized by McCarthy choice of words within the novel, this can be analyzed in this quote” You think were going to die , don’t you? (McCarthy 85). This mention of death is important in this passage because it is showing what the author was trying to portray that since they are really poor and have not eaten any food in the last couple of days prior they were questioning themselves on whether or not they are going to die. Also the ideas of poor and survival plays a strong role throughout the novel . As the man and boy are considered nothing in society since they are really poor and are ignored by the government , which makes their life unpredictable. The use of the two main points in one argument proves how related the theme of relicense and survival are in the novel.

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What is apparent in the novel is the author uses a lot of repetition this is very important in this passage as it can be further analyzed when the boy asks,” Why do you think we are going to die? “(McCarthy 85) this a has a relation with trying to survive as for instance in the novel “ We don’t have anything to eat . We’ll find something” (McCarthy 85). This is showing that even though they think they are going to die because of the minimum food and resources they have but it also shows that they are determined to find food sooner than later. This shows a strong resemblance to the poor in the novel , in which each and every-one of them are trying to do anything to survive. Repetition is also important when the man says “ I don’t know “ ( Mccarthy 85). This reference represents all aspects of humans who don’t know if they are going to be able to survive another day because of limited resources but are willing to do anything in order to still wake up the next day and it clearly depicts the theme of survival and reliance in society.

Works Cited:

  1. Heberle, M. A. (2006). Mourning in the Things They Carried: Traumatic Reenactment and the Creation of the Imagination. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 47(2), 141-152.
  2. Korb, R. (2008). The Things They Carried and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial: Ghosts and Shadows. Journal of American Culture, 31(2), 209-219.
  3. McCarron, K. (2002). War Story and Trauma Narrative in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 43(3), 249-257.
  4. O'Brien, T. (2009). The Things They Carried. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  5. Purcell, W. (2014). Consciousness, Memory, and the Tragedy of Being in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. College Literature, 41(3), 28-51.
  6. Selig, M. (2001). The Things They Carried and the Fiction of Ethics. Twentieth Century Literature, 47(2), 207-224.
  7. Smith, P. A. (2006). Ethical Embodiment and the Obligation of Witnessing in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 48(1), 25-35.
  8. Starnes, T. F. (2003). The Things They Carried: Emotional Truth and Fictional Technique. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 44(2), 157-165.
  9. Stewart, J. B. (1997). Vietnam as Narrative and Cultural Displacement in Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, 30(3/4), 207-222.
  10. Valentine, D. (2006). O'Brien's The Things They Carried. Explicator, 64(2), 108-110.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

“The Road” by Cormac Mccarthy. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
““The Road” by Cormac Mccarthy.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
“The Road” by Cormac Mccarthy. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Feb. 2024].
“The Road” by Cormac Mccarthy [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2019 Mar 12 [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from:
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