Cormac Mccarthy The Road Analysis

1614 Words7 Pages
Today we don’t often pay much attention to our nighttime dreams. They are just another distraction in our ever busy lives and most of the time we just end up forgetting we ever dreamt them up in the first place. However, what if dreams meant more than idle thought? What if they were all of the past we had to hold on to? The Road by Cormac McCarthy is the story of a father and a son living in an apocalyptic world. As the two struggle for survival they face cannibals, hunger and questions of morality. The hardships they face seem like a load to hard to bear. However, the father and son manage to fight until the bitter end. Some people who read The Road may not find the dreams of the man or the boy to be all that important. As their dreams often…show more content…
In the case of The Road, it pushes the man and the boy forward. However, it does this indirectly through the characters’ dreams. Fear stems from a need to stay away from what is dangerous or life threatening. It’s a driving force in continued survival. To give up, to not fear, is death. The man references this stating, “Listen to me [...] when your dreams are of some world that never was or some world that never will be, and you're happy again, then you'll have given up. Do you understand? And you can't give up, I won't let you.” (McCarthy 189). The dreams tell the characters of their will to live. The man and the boy’s fear inside their dreams show that they still have the basic survival instincts and thus a want to live. Dreams similar to their awake world give them a sign that they have not internally given up because these dreams are of hardship not happiness. They are ready to continue their fight. Again the man speaks to this, “He said the right dreams for a man in peril were dreams of peril and all else was the call of languor and of death.” (McCarthy 18). If the man and the boy are dreaming of a comfortable world then they are looking for escape. However, their dreams are often about a world almost as harsh, or harsher, than their own. Because the character’s face peril in their dreams it shows that they still have a will to continue on and face the peril of their harsh reality. Fear continues to rule the…show more content…
The past may not always seem that relevant to the struggle of the characters now. As Ashley Kunsa writes in her article “Post Apocalyptic Naming in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road”: “The Road suggests, the names of the past become meaningless as well” (63). However, the fact that the man dreams so often of the past shows that he is still attached to his life before the present. These dreams have other implications as well. These dreams may not use fear or peril as a tactic for survival; however, the man’s dreams of the past still spur him to fight. One of the man’s dreams of the past involves his wife’s suicide. In part of the dream the wife says, “You talk about taking a stand but there is no stand to take. My heart was ripped out of me the night he was born so dont ask for sorrow now. There is none. Maybe you’ll be good at this. I doubt it but who knows. The one thing I can tell you is that you wont survive for yourself” (McCarthy 57). While the woman’s words seem to encourage giving up they have the opposite effect and they speak an important truth. After his wife’s death the man continues on as if he wants to prove her and her words wrong. He continues to fight with renewed strength. He continues to survive for the boy alone and cares little of himself other than to stay alive and help the boy. The woman was right, the man won’t survive for himself but he will survive for the boy. In this way the past encourages

More about Cormac Mccarthy The Road Analysis

Open Document