Cormac Mccarthy Essay The Road

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“The Road” Essay In Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic world of The Road, the father knows that his inevitable death is not far down the road they travel. As he and his son struggle to fight for their survival, the man constantly prepares his son for the day that he will have to continue on his own. For the man, “the child was his warrant” (McCarthy 5), so the purpose for his own survival is only for the benefit of his son’s. The roles of the care taker and follower are also shown in Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” between the man and the dog. However, unlike the father in the road, “was not able to imagine… nor did he think about man’s general weakness… it did not lead him to thoughts of heaven” (London 65), so he did not have a fixation with…show more content…
Despite the desire to preserve his son’s innocence, the man knows that soon enough, the boy will be responsible for his own life. The man ultimately gives the boy the responsibility for his own life when he gives him the decision to end it. In dangerous situations, the man hands the boy the gun and says, “you know how to do it. You put it in your mouth and point it up. Do it quick and hard” (McCarthy 113). In the modern day world, for a father to say this to a boy would seem immoral because everyone sees death and suicide as a sensitive subject that shouldn’t be brought up – let alone recommended. However, in a world full of danger, they see it as seen as a logical way out. The father leaves this, and other decision up to the boy. When the boy asks to go swimming in the ocean, the father hesitates. The boy takes his pause as a no and says, “you don’t think I should go.” The father realizes that the boy needs to learn to make his own decision and responds, “You can go.” Surprised by his response, the boy denies, “But you don’t think I should.” “No. I think you should” (McCarthy 217). Although, as a father, the man would like to make the decision he knows will probably be smartest, he holds back and allows the boy to decide for himself. The man is training the boy to be independent and know how to make smart decisions. The dog in “To Build a Fire”, although with his owner, was able to be independent and safe. When trying to survive in such harsh conditions, “It knew that it was not good to walk outside in such fearful cold. It was the time to lie in a hole in the snow and wait for this awful cold to stop” (London 70). The point that the dog is at is ultimately the point the father wants to get his boy to. So that way when he is gone, the boy can make those smart decisions on his

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