Hopeful Hell: The Search for Hope in a Post-Apocalyptic World Essay

Hopeful Hell: The Search for Hope in a Post-Apocalyptic World Essay

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Death and destruction are the epitome of a doomed world. Everything is destroyed and murders march the streets at night. Hell on earth is a gentle description. Cormac McCarthy's speculation of the end of the world, however, ensures that evil is not victorious. The biblical allusions Cormac McCarthy addresses in The Road illuminate a sense of hope in a bleak, empty world.
Despite a grim first impression, the repetitive imagery of ash represents hope according to symbolism found in the Bible. Ash becomes a natural setting, described throughout the whole book, with a seemingly melancholy mood. McCarthy introduces ash within the first pages: “Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop” (McCarthy 4). Normally, the connotations of ash create a dark gloomy atmosphere. McCarthy's intentional diction in this passage, however, create an opposing mood. The phrases “soft ash” and “loose swirls” create a relaxed image, allowing the ash to be interpreted in a hopeful manner. This hopefulness is enforced by the symbolism of ash in the Bible. After Adam and Eve committed the first sin, God warns them of his power, “For dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). First of all, this verse exemplifies the great power of God. He created the complex human body out of mere dust. In relation to The Road, the ash represents the presence of a great power. This brings hope to the father and the son, knowing that the ability to create something out of the ash exists.
Similarly, the concept of fire found throughout the novel, although serving as a representation of destruction, sheds light on the underlying theme of hope. We are led to believe, through various descriptions, that the world w...

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...” describes the world as a puzzle to be solved. The answer is not easily deciphered, but rather is a learning experience. Secondly, the “thing which could not be put back” is the customs of the old world. The images of the old world and their meanings fade away, as the world fades away itself (Schaub). These things cannot “be made right again”. The meaning of the world is not gone. It just changed (Kunsa). The world is left with a “hum of mystery”, a place full of possibility and potential. This last paragraph brings hope to the future, and promises for a better world.
Through many biblical allusions, the father and the son experience the affects of hope. Despite the destroyed world, they come together to survive the post apocalyptic world. The “good guys” bring hope for the future and for the defeat of evil. Promise and prospect will guide the new, hopeful world.

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