Symbolism In Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

2016 Words9 Pages
The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel that revolves around a journey; a journey that is more than just a physical movement down a once busy trafficway. It is a journey through morality, religion, Earthly importance, civilization, and an unbreakable bond between a father and a son. Symbolism plays a huge role in the development of the story as well as provides meanings and purpose behind each sentence in its entirety. As stated in a blog of Northrop Frye’s “The Anatomy of Criticism: Second Essay,” “the use of the word "symbol," which in this essay means any unit of any literary structure that can be isolated for critical attention. A word, a phrase, or an image used with some kind of special reference (which is what a symbol is usually taken…show more content…
It helps to motivate the under-described characters and it holds so many different meanings. Throughout the book, the man tells the boy that he is “carrying the fire” (McCarthy 83). This is meant to give the boy hope as the fire in this sense is supposed to represent being the “good guys.” In “God, Morality, and Meaning in Cormac McCarthy 's "The Road" by Erik J. Wielenberg, he touches on the symbolism behind the use of the word “fire” in the book. “Fire is the foundation of civilization. Of course, fire is also the primary implement of destruction of civilization in The Road. Perhaps to carry the fire is to carry the seeds of civilization. If civilization is to return to the world, it will be through the efforts of “good guys” like the man and he child. At the very least, the two struggle to maintain civilization between themselves” (Wielenberg…show more content…
There is no guarantee as to how long humans will be able to survive on Earth given the condition that it is in. The man tries to have hope in the future and that is why they are making the journey on the seemingly never ending road. The man comes to realize that he will not make it much longer so he puts his hope in the boy. As he lays dying, the last thoughts that we are given from the man are “Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again” (McCarthy 281). He has passed all faith onto the boy because the boy is the fire, the future, civilization, faith, and what the father knows is left of the good. In “The End of the Road: Pastoralism and the Post-Apocalyptic Waste Land of Cormac McCarthy 's "The Road"” by Tim Edwards, he states, “the man, if not the child, seems to be a sort of an anti-Adam, who literally sees his world being uncreated before his eyes” (Edwards 59). Through this he is saying that the man is haunted by the past everywhere he looks. He is constantly reminded of what was, by everything that isn’t. Nature is a connection between the past and the present. It bridges the gap between what once was and how it relates to what has become of it. He does not reside in nature because he wants to be a part of it, but rather to find sanctuary from those who wish to harm him. As the man recalls his memories of the past through his dreams, he realizes the irony of the world and how his son

More about Symbolism In Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

Open Document