Theme of danger versus safety in the Road by Cormac McCarthy
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Theme of danger versus safety in the Road by: Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy uses indirect characterization to show thatthe man is worried for the boy knowing that one day theboy will have to face the dangers of this new worldalone.
This is shown when the boy doesnt talk for long periods of timethe man confronts him about it. this shows that the man isworried about the well being of boy and wants to try and makethe boy as happy as possible.
McCarthy characterizes the man as a teacher, and the boy as astudent throughout the novel. Throughout the novel the man isteaching the boy what is dangerous, and bad versus what issafe, and good.
A main example of danger versus safety in the road is the bad guys. the manconvinces the boy that they are the good guys and everything that they encounteron the road is bad. whether it be bad guys or just something he cant touch, Theboy has trouble distinguishing him and his dad from the bad guys, because theyare not very different.
when the man and the boy are not on the road they are warmbecause of the fire, but when they are travelling on the road theyare exposed to the harshness of the weather, they are cold, andwet which could lead to sickness or death.
McCarthy uses the weather as another treacherous obstacle thatcomes along with travelling on the road. He also uses theweather to give the man and the boy another reason to go southand reach their goal of making it to the coast.
McCarthy continues the theme of safety and shelter to describe travelling off theroad. this example is What they came to was a cedar wood, the trees dead andblack but still full enough to hold the snow. Beneath each one a precious circle ofdark earth and cedar duff. They settled under a tree and piled the blankets andcoats on the ground.”
throughout the novel McCarthy uses the trees andthe forest to symbolize a sense of safety, or abunker to hide from the bad things that travel on theroad.
McCarthy uses horrific imagery to describe a group of people that travel on the road toshow how dangerous they are. this example is “They came shuffling through the ashcasting their hooded heads from side to side. Some of them wearing canister masks. Onein a biohazard suit. Stained and filthy. Slouching along with clubs in their hands, lengths ofpipe. Coughing. Then he heard on the road behind them what sounded like a diesel truck.”
An example of danger on the road is “Something woke him. He turned on his sideand lay listening. He raised his head slowly, the pistol in his hand. He looked downat the boy and when he looked nback toward the road the first of them werealready coming into view. God, he whispered. He reached and shook the boy,keeping his eyes on the road.”
McCarthy writes this quote to illustrate theterrible things that accompany the boy and manon the road.
McCarthy displays the sense of safety off the road by writingthat the man and his son would “make a run for it” into thewoods and off the road because that is where they could safelyget away from the “bad guys” that could hunt them down.
This shows that the man is aware of the dangersand he wants to make sure that his son knows whattheir danger plan is in case of somethinghappening.
McCarthy uses the imagery of the motorcyclemirror on the shopping cart to illustrate a sense ofdanger that comes along with travelling on theroad.
“ In the knap-sacks were essential things. In case they had toabandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle ofthe cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watchthe road behind them”