Symbolism In The Road By Cormac Mccarthy

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Symbolism in The Road The highly prestigious American novelist Cormac McCarthy was born on July 20, 1933 in Rhode Island. McCarthy was raised as a Roman Catholic, which influenced his writing style. The religious teachings contributed to his use of biblical references and symbolisms throughout his novels, including The Road. The novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy has three major symbols: the symbol of the boy as a Christ-like figure, the symbol of the fire as ongoing hope, and the symbol of the man and the boy as good vs. evil. To begin with, one of the major symbols in the novel is that of the boy as a Christ-like figure. The boy who remains nameless throughout the novel was born into a horrific post-apocalyptic world in which he is surrounded…show more content…
The man constantly tells his son “you have to carry the fire” (McCarthy, p.234) , this not only means to maintain hope and faith, but also to hold on to the values and morals that he is teaching his son. In this new society the old morals and values that once existed, such as not stealing, lying, or hurting others, are nonexistent, people do whatever it takes to survive. This is why the man is continually reassuring his son to carry the fire, and in his last moments when the boy asks him if the fire is real he replies “It’s inside you. It was always there. I can see it” (McCarthy, p.234) .In the mythological story of Prometheus, “Prometheus gave men fire so they could survive in a primitive, undeveloped world”(Hagen, para.3) . By giving man fire Prometheus gave man the knowledge and skills that mankind needed in order to survive, this is exactly what the man is doing to his son. The man is teaching his son not only the skills that he will need to survive once he’s gone, but also the desire to survive which is just as…show more content…
In this atrocious world there is a very thin line between good and evil, because of the survival instinct that is innate in humans. The man tries to teach his son a set of principles to which moral people are committed: don’t eat people, don’t steal, don’t lie, and never give up (Wielenberg, 2014, p.4, the code of the good guys section) , but because of the society that they live in they are put in situations in which they have had to bend their moralities in order to survive. During their journey along the road, the man and the boy encounter some cannibals and one of the ruthless men holds the boy at gunpoint, so the man is forced to kill him in order to save his son. This causes the boy to feel confused about whether or not they are good, but the man says “you wanted to know what the bad guys looked like. Now you know. It may happen again. My job is to take care of you. I was appointed to do that by God. I will kill anyone who touches you” (McCarthy, p.65) . The man has tried to raise the boy with good morals and values, but he understands that at times they will need to ignore their values. The man will do whatever it takes to protect his son, which is why there is a persistent theme of the struggle between good vs. evil throughout the

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