Similarities in Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ and Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes

Similarities in Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ and Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes

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The Road’ is a post-apocalyptic novel of a father and son’s journey through a scorched horror-scape blasted by an unspecified catastrophe that left ash dispensing from the sky, no visible sun and only a few of civilisation - most have turned into cannibals . Nineteen Minutes’ is similar to ‘The Road’, as there are survivors, but after a specified cataclysm, a high-school massacre, in which Peter, a bully victim, carried out in nineteen minutes, killing ten and wounding nineteen – the guileless and his tormentors. Consequently, beautiful passages may seem to be dependent on violence and depravity as it’s the aftermath of a terrible event they overcame, their light at the end of the tunnel “maybe bad things happen because it's the only way we can keep remembering what good is meant to look like” – Nineteen Minutes.

For example, when the man had woken up to everything being alight it was like “the lost sun were returning at last”, thus bringing a sudden surge of colour that made the “snow orange and quivering”, bringing life into the dead world. The sheer liveliness of it “flaring and shimmering against the overcast like the northern lights” moved something in him that had long been forgotten, prompting him to “make a list”, “recite a litany” and “remember” it. This is a distant step from instances in the novel where he withheld good memories as he believed “the right dreams for a man in peril were dreams of peril”, same with good memories, otherwise “all else was the call of languor and of death”, as it would lure him into a false sense of security.

However, McCarthy’s use of the word “litany” connotes prayers; hence his recollections become sacred. This implies that the beauty depends on the violence and depravity as something a...


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...immune because of where you live or who you are. It’s easier that way, isn’t it?” Picoult knows how to include the readers in her work; she uses the justice system to help them understand the tragedy as the myriads of point of views and flashbacks mirror the evidence gathered for and against Peter “Ms. Picoult has a way of finding reassurance even in a standoff that would have stumped King Solomon. Her proficiently constructed books are not about chaos, or even loose ends”- Janet Maslin, NY-Times. Her words are beautiful, honest and sometimes that honesty could cut like a knife “sometimes when your vision was that sharp and true, it could cut you”. Accordingly, the violent imagery prompts the readers to open their eyes, reach out to others, value loved ones and life as a whole as “only if you’d felt such fullness could you really understand the ache of being empty”.

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