Hope In Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

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According to Friedrich Nietzsche, “Hope is in truth the worst of all evils, because it protracts the torments of men” (Nietzsche 45). The Road is set in a post-apocalyptic grey world where the last remnants of humanity have faded into oblivion. This world is “Barren, silent, godless” (4); life as humans know it is over and civilisation is beyond saving. To complicate the situation, however, McCarthy infuses hope into this dystopian world which creates an illusion of hope. In the road, Cormac McCarthy uses a deviation from the traditional road narratives and the journey of the man and his son to delineate the infusion of hope and hopelessness in their dystopian world. In the road, some events that occur during the man`s journey with his son…show more content…
On the man and son`s journey, McCarthy creates the image of the boy playing a flute. This image provides a sense of hope. The man “carved the boy a flute. A formless music for the age to come or perhaps the last music on earth called up from the ashes of its ruin” (77). The man first observes this image as an image of hope for a new world yet to emerge. Later, however, he is forced to realise that this image cannot materialise. For him, things fade away and the hope tied to them follows those things into oblivion. In one surreal scene from the novel, the man unknowingly leads the boy into a cellar. In the cellar, they discover “an ungodly stench… Huddled against the back wall were naked people, male and female, all trying to hide, shielding their faces with their hands. On the mattress lay a man with his legs gone to the hip and the stumps of them blackened and burnt.” (110). Evidently, these people were…show more content…
He shows the complex relationship between hope and hopelessness in a dystopian world. The dystopian world in The Road is a world that lingers in between the past and the future –a world in limbo. The pre-apocalyptic world is lost and the new world is yet to emerge. The man`s notion of the world is, however, a paradox. He recognises that the world has ended and that hope is no longer in the picture yet he acts as though there is hope. McCarthy`s delineation of the road in the novel indicates a deviation from the tradition road narratives. In their grey world, the road no longer offers a means of freedom from the past and future. It only hinges the past to the present and the future. It makes the father to portray actions of hope which his consciousness does not. The boy`s survival offers hope for salvation although this salvation for humanity, however, is not clear and definite to be seen. At the very last paragraph of the book, McCarthy says, “Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again” (287). He hints at the impossibility of hope in this dystopian world. However, in the following lines of the same paragraph, he says, “In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery” (287). With these lines, McCarthy hints

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