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An overview of the novel the road by cormac mccarthy

Are we going to die? Remember, you won't get little tags so you know who's speaking, it'll all just be strung out in a line without differentiation. Then they wander around for a bit or run from crazy people, and we finally get the cap to the conversation: Why did terrible thing just happen? Stares off in silence Son: Nor does it seem to make much sense. The characters are always together, each the other's sole companion: McCarthy never demonstrates how such a disconnect arose between two people who are constantly intimate and reliant on one another.

But then, McCarthy confided to Oprah that the is book about his relationship with his own son, so it makes sense why the emotional content is completely at odds with the setting. The boy is constantly terrified, and his chief role involves pointing at things and screaming, punctuating every conflict in the book, like a bad horror film.

Cannibals and dead infants are an okay if cliche place to start when it comes to unsettling the reader, but just having the characters react histrionically does not build tension, especially when the characters are too flat to be sympathetic in the first place. Another Creative Writing 101 lesson: It's the literary equivalent of a laugh track.

The Road Plot Summary

A child not screaming when he finds a dead infant. The young boy has never known another world--his world is death and horror. And you know what would make a great book? A father who remembers the old world trying to prevent his son from becoming a callous monster because of the new one.

The road to hell

The characters never grow numb to it, they never seem to suffer PTSD, their reactions are more akin to angst. Every time there is a problem, the characters just fold in on themselves and give up. People really only do that when they have the luxury of sitting about and ruminating on what troubles them. There is no joy or hope in this book--not even the fleeting, false kind.

The Road Summary

Everything is constantly bleak. Yet human beings in stressful, dangerous situations always find ways to carry on: Apparently, McCarthy cannot even think of a plausible reason why human beings would want to survive. There is nothing engaging about a world sterilized of all possibility. People always create a way out, even when there is none. What is tragic is not a lack of hope, but misplaced hope. I could perhaps appreciate a completely empty world as a writing exercise, but as McCarthy is constantly trying to provoke emotional reactions, he cannot have been going for utter bleakness.

The Road is a canvas painted black, so it doesn't mater how many more black strokes he layers on top: This is tragedy porn. Suburban malaise is equated with the most remote and terrible examples of human pain. And so the privileged can read about how their pain is the same as the pain of those starving children they mute during commercial breaks. They turn the water off when they brush their teeth. They even thought about joining the Peace Corps.

Their guilt is assuaged. They are free to bask in their own radiant anguish. But this kind of egotistical detachment has become typical of American thought, and of American authors, whose little, personal, insular explorations don't even pretend to look at the larger world. Indeed, there is a self-satisfied notion that trying to look at the world sullies the pure artist. And that 'emotionally pure, isolated author' is what we get from the Oprah interview.

Sure, she's asking asinine questions, but McCarthy shows no capacity to discuss either craft or ideas, refusing to take open-ended questions and discuss writing, he instead laughs condescendingly and shrugs. Then again, he may honestly not have much insight on an overview of the novel the road by cormac mccarthy topic.

Looked at in this way, it's not surprising he won the Pulitzer. Awards committees run on politics, and choosing McCarthy is a political decision--an attempt to declare that insular, American arrogance is somehow still relevant. But the world seems content to move ahead without America and its literature, which is why no one expects McCarthy--or any American author--to win a Nobel any time soon. This book is a paean to the obliviousness of American self-importance in our increasingly global, undifferentiated world.

One way or the other, it will stand as a testament to the last gasp of a dying philosophy: But then, the Pulitzer committee is renowned for picking unadventurous winners--usually an unremarkable late entry by an author past their prime.

As William Gass put it: They pop into fantasy or sci fi with their lit fic credentials to show us little folk 'how it's really done'--but know nothing about the genre or its history, and just end up reinventing the wheel, producing a book that would have been tired and dated thirty years ago. Luckily for such writers, none of their lit fic critics know anything about other genres--any sort of bland rehash will feel fresh to them, as long as you have the name-recognition to get them to look in the first place.

So, McCarthy gets two stars for a passable if cliche script for a sci fi adventure movie, minus one star for unconscionable denigration of human suffering.

Into the Darkness

I couldn't say if McCarthy's other books are any good; I will probably try another, just to see if any part of his reputation is deserved, but this one certainly didn't help. All I see is another author who got too big for his editors and, finding himself free to write whatever he wanted--only proved that he no longer has anything worth saying.

With descriptions that are merely lists. Where stupid people say insipid stuff to each other. If what's always distinguished bad writing--flat characters, a narrative world that's.