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A man who looks through the mirror and talks to his reflection usually has the ability to correct himself and put his house in order. The Road is a truly moving and touching journey taken by a father and his son in a hope to find a new life and some sanity in a post-apocalypse era, when all else seems to be lost and cannibalism the only means to survival. McCarthy’s book, The Road, achieves in portraying a picture that a good man is hard to find; and once found, the urge and desire to maintain may be challenged by the circumstances around him.
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The father constantly tells his son that they are “the good guys” and that they “carry the fire”, McCarthy uses these lines to depict that goodness in a man is an inborn trait, a trait that has to be maintained and cultivated, the reader gets an unpriced gift- the gift of self-righteousness.
McCarthy outlines a series of events that support the father’s statement of being “the good guys”. This is seen when they open a trapdoor in the house of the cannibals. The son asks his father to repeat that they will not resort to cannibalism despite their surroundings. The boy is scared and uncertain of the future. His birth in the post-apocalypse period denies him an opportunity to know what ‘normal life’ is. He lives and dreams of reaching a new world where he will play with other children and through his fathe, he lives that life-the life of a good man.
Morgenstern’s review shows that love is a great gift, capable of surviving all else, he says “The theme of unswerving love is strong. The spectacle of a blasted planet holds a fateful attraction”. A good man’s love is shown when the father protects, feeds and bathes his son, the veteran’s wife who shows concern for the boy also displays that “good man’ have it in them to love at all times. This is a human move that gives the reader a hope for the boy’s better future. It helps the reader conclude that the boy will “carry the light” even without his father and continue being a “good man”; because the family that trails him and his father and adopt him is also a very good family that is “carrying the light” and have not yet resorted to cannibalism.
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The son grows up before his time and at some point, even encourages the father when he reminds him “because we’re the good guys. Yes. And we’re carrying the fire. And we’re carrying the fire. Yes”. (129), this boy becomes his father’s advisor and achieved in keeping the good man inside of his father, alive.
The father is more than precautious. This is shown when they meet the old man who is also on his way to-nowhere but has not yet resorted to cannibalism. Quarterly Conversation says, “Anyone they meet iss assumed deadly- even when the boy discovers another child, the father hurries his son away as though the other were a mangy dog” (para 7), in this poem-book, no one is to be trusted but everyone has to be treated cautiously.
Like every good book, The Road has chilling reviews, Jensen says that “whether you will be moved or changed by this story or not, you know that you will never read another book like it. You will never be able to forget it. Pray this will not be the way the old ends”, the book is surely an amazing and inspiring work that makes one to appreciate the day to day basics and learn what being good really is about.
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However there is a twist to being a good man; McCarthy shows this through the encounter with the man who stole their belongings-food and clothes. The man was “Filthy with diarrhea, leaning on the bar of the shopping cart. He looked at the boy out of his sunken haggard eyes…” (190). the man tries to plead with the boy’s father and despite the boy’s pleas, the father takes away everything. McCarthy’s lesson is that a good man also has a limit. The Road is a poem-book that one can read and reread to in order to engrave in their minds and use as a manual for daily life. It sets to improve the way we take our surroundings for granted and see everything as a “Right”. The book gives one food for thought and in the end-reforms the reader.
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