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Post comments/questions in response to the novel
Posted by Capper Nichols on March 1, 2009 12:48 PM | Permalink
The road was a very interesting book to read for a few reasons. It was so different from what I am used to reading in a novel. The biggest difference was that the style seemed rather emotionless but it was a very dramatic and emotional book. I am not sure I have read a novel recently that had very few metaphors and such dry imagery. Also, the distance between me and characters seemed enormous because I only knew that they were a father and son, no name, no definite ages. It was intriguing how little was known about them and their situation (why the world was post-apocalyptic?) yet I still was drawn to their story. The setting and symbolism were different as well. The setting because the only other book I read similar to this was The Stand by Stephen King, but The Road took a more “realistic” account of what it would be like post-society. The symbolism of the road, good and bad guys, and them
“carrying the fire” was different too. The road was like their life, continuing on but not really leading to a destination. The good and bad guys didn’t seem to have too much of a distinction because it really was just a matter of survival. The only difference between good and bad was how willing someone was to help someone else survive. Finally, “carrying the fire” to me, meant simply surviving as a “good guy” until there was a destination reached at the end of the road. I think the carrying the fire meant living in a way that did not differ too far from the way people used to live before this catastrophe by being as civilized as they could be while having to survive.
Aaron Barlow |
March 2, 2009 7:10 PM
The title of this book The Road definitely fits this novel for numerous amounts of reasons. The road this father and his son travel throughout the book brings the two individuals to encounter many different situations. The road offers hope, perseverance, guidance, misery, evil, and amongst these things many others. It offers hope, perseverance, and guidance because as time elapses, they come across different situations that offer them a greater chance of survival, such as food, blankets, and gasoline. When it comes to the road offering misery and evil, it brings them to places where their survival is greatly at risk. For example, many times they had to hide in the trees along the road to avoid being seen by the “bad” guys, as the little boy would call them. If they would have been spotted, they might have been killed signifying the death of a love so great many people would not know how to react. Personally, I think this book deals mostly with the love felt between the father and son. It is like all other feelings for things are set aside and survival only depends on their love for one another.
Sally Perrin |
March 3, 2009 11:02 AM
The Road was an extremely depressing book. It left me feeling desolate but thankful that the world is not one big ball of ash and skeletons. I did like the relationship between the boy and man and how they always talked about the situations they were in and what to do about them. The man was always very comforting to the boy and was a great father. He always did what was best for his son, even if the best was horrible. The man was also very good in “carrying the fire” and keeping the boy’s spirits up and on the positive side. It must have been extremely hard to keep that kind of positive thinking for the man when he knew there almost no hope for them to survive. The love they showed for each other throughout the story was very touching. It was especially touching in the end when it was now the boy’s turn to take care of his father when he was in need. I think it was great that the father told the boy to go on, and told him he would not take him with him, aka killing him too since the man was dying. I think this is an interesting difference compared to Beloved where Sethe tries to kill her kids so they won’t have to suffer. I found that contrast interesting. Something I didn’t like about this book was the constant repetition of hiding in the woods, being cold and hungry, then finding an old farm house, the boy crying and being scared while at the house, and then finding a few canned goods to get them by. It just got kind of old for me. It was also very depressing and left me sad, but also a bit happy because there was still good in the world, and the little boy finally found a little boy his age, and a nice man and woman to take care of him like their own. That was a very good ending I think.
Samantha Stangeland |
March 3, 2009 12:52 PM
The Road is the book which I liked the most until now. The story is fascinating and unrealistic right now, but it makes us think about what can happen with us in the future.
I really like the style of the writer, Cormac McCarthy, because he describes everything in so little details that you are able to feel yourself in that scenario. I have to say that it was hard for me to understand some descriptions because of some unfamiliar words used by the writer.
I was not sure in the beginning of the book about what kind of relationship there was between the boy and the man. Even if the boy called the man "Papa", the writer referred to them as "the boy and the man". I feel that I needed something more explicit to convince me that they are father and son. However, I could easily see how much the man cared about the boy.
Aldane Greco |
March 3, 2009 12:54 PM
I find The Road to be a unique novel compared to the other novels we have previously read. I find the style of the book to in some sense resemble poetry. Cormac McCarthy’s writing style is interesting due to the lack of punctuation. The Road expresses the worst, and also the best of human capabilities. Although there is no explanation as to what caused the devastation, I tend to believe it was the result of a power struggle that ended in a nuclear war. While humans can be cold hearted showing no remorse for others and destroying the world, the story also exemplifies the love and compassion humans are capable of expressing. The father and son love one another which allow them to continue down the desolate path, even though they are unsure of what it will bring. Even though they disagree several times on what should be done concerning different issues along the way, a common ground was reached to ensure survival. I believe this story is a great reminder that we should be thankful everyday for not only for what we have been given, but also that we aren’t living in fear as the father and son are. The question that I have is what is the significance of the clock stopping at 1:17?
Andy Kryzer |
March 3, 2009 7:48 PM
The Road is a very gripping novel and I enjoyed it a lot. It took awhile to get into the style of the writing and to appreciate how simplistic McCarthy was in explaining such a huge devastation. I like the fact that this devastation/apocalypse type event was never completely explained. Although it is somewhat frustrating, I like the fact that the reader can make some of his or her own conclusions.
The most compelling part of this novel was the relationship between the boy and the man. Their unconditional love and trust for each other is truly inspiring. Their dialogue was always very simple and to the point, always reassuring. I suspect that in previous times they had talked a lot more, especially since the man kept talking about the stories that he used to tell the boy. I believe that the boy is much of the reason why the two survived for so long. If it wasn't for the boy, the man might have fallen into dark practices like cannibalism, which would have put him in danger. Their dependence on each other truly kept themselves alive as long as they were.
I am very excited for this movie. I can't think of a better person to play The Man than Viggo Mortenson.
Nora Nolden |
March 3, 2009 8:49 PM
I really enjoyed the author's writing style, he gave such vivid scenery that you could see what they were seeing.
I really didn't like the ending, the man dies and the boy moves on with another family, but we don't know if there is anywhere for them to go. They just have to keep going on scrounging for food and shelter and hope they find more good people. The Boy dose keep hope and he talks to his Papa to remember him.
The boy and the man are close because there is nobody else they can trust and they depend on each other so they can go on. I think if the Man didn't have the boy he wouldn't have gone as far as he did, because he wouldn't of had anything to live for. The boy needed the Man because he is young and couldn't surive on his own. They support each other so they could surive and look out for each other. I got the impression the Boy is 6 or 7 so he can't put forth very much, but because he is scard of alot of stuff it keeps the man more wary and they don't stay places long.
Amber Pomraning |
March 3, 2009 8:53 PM
This book depicted such deep misery I find it hard to speak to very much more beyond that. The idea of suicide being the last way out, as being better than the alternative to me was almost more sobering than all of the imagery McCarthy could conjure up. It became especially frightening in cases that suggested the man having to shoot the boy to better his situation for the future. The bond between the two is awe inspiring as the two face horrors like starvation and cannibals. This was a whole new idea of family, one that is a great addition to a class that pertains to the theme of family. It makes one wonder how the Brady Bunch would survive in the same situation!
Conrad Jackson |
March 3, 2009 10:02 PM
The Road was an interesting book and the book I have enjoyed most so far throughout the semester. It is very different from the books I normally read, and at the same time I still enjoyed it. It was more of an enjoyment that came from wanting to know what happens next. It was a very sad and depressing book. When thinking about what would happen if our world today became a burned America, it is a very depressing thought. The father and son only had each other left and had to protect themselves against everyone else, rather than everyone banding together so they could all survive. Instead, they all decided to try and kill one another.
It was interesting that the boy decided to move on with the other family at the end and leave the father behind. The father stated at the beginning of the book that if the son died, he would also die. I think the son went with that other family because his father told him to. The boy always did what the man wanted.
I also thought it was weird how nobody in the book had a name, so if there were 2 grown men at once, it became a little confusing having both their names be "man"
Katie Fretheim |
March 3, 2009 10:05 PM
Cormac McCarthy used a very dark style in The Road. This helped portray the hopelessness the boy and man felt throughout the book. His descriptions allowed me to see what they saw. All that was left of America was ashes. They could trust very few, and always had to fear their lives. The fact that they carried a loaded pistol with two bullets, only for suicide really symbolized how bad it was. They would rather kill themselves than have to endure what they would encounter.
It's interesting to me too how they never really say that the boy and man are truly father and son, yet it is implied. The man definitely played the father role. He looked after the boy and protected him. The boy looked up to him and did everything he said. They had a family of only two, but it was a family nonetheless. When the man died, the boy joins the other family. This is the only uplifting and positive part of the book. It's mentioned that one of the children the family has is a daughter. This is that little bit of hope that in the future, the boy and girl could recreate humanity.
Sara Olsson |
March 3, 2009 10:22 PM
The road to me was a great book because it paints a vivid picture of what possibly can happen in our world. Even though it doesn’t go into to much detail about the catastrophe, you can imagine that it was caused by a nuclear meltdown, or nuclear war or something that might still happen in our lifetime. I can defiantly relate to this story of a loving father doing everything he can to care for his son because I know that through the tough times, my father was always there to help me out, and I know that if we were in this sort of situation, my father would act exactly like the boys. “Carrying the Fire” has a very obvious meaning to me, and that is keeping the same morals and knowledge of right and wrong as before the disaster. Not turning to cannibalism and trying to do what you can to help others as long as you don’t hurt yourselves. There was a very depressing end how the father dies, but McCarthy finds a way to make his father’s death useful by not killing his boy first, and there is a ray of sunshine with the family in having a good Christian mother and the daughter of close age to show that there still is hope for the human race so to say.
Spenser Check |
March 3, 2009 10:34 PM
I like McCarthy's syntactical-style. It's a little off-kilter almost, but only to an extent that it keeps the reader "on their toes" a little bit. It's partly that he writes with a conversational tone, but also in the manner of language use that is typical of Thought. His descriptions are the best examples of that.
I havent finished reading the book, and i unwisely read several of the previous posts, so the ending will lack the element of surprise now, but I think it will still be enjoyable to reach the end anyhow.
chi johnson |
March 3, 2009 10:37 PM
This book definitely fit the title. This journey of a father and son across the country in a search of hope (along with food). The connection between the father and son is the strength that pushes each to continue on. It was weird to hear the father talk about them as the "good" guys and anyone they met along the way was a "bad" guy. The son never once seemed to agree with the father's view of people and continued to believe that they should help those they find, whether it was the little child or the old man that took their stuff. If anything the son seemed to be the light of the future, maybe that was what they meant by having the inner fire. It was kind of ironic that once the father died the boy finally met someone that truly was looking out for someone else. One thing that I was wondering about through the book was what had caused this state of the country.
Eric Perkins |
March 3, 2009 10:59 PM
When I first started reading The Road, I found it confusing and difficult to get into. As I continued to read, however, I found that it was difficult to put the novel down and kept reading to see how the story ended. The novel was very depressing and by the end it seemed as though there was no hope and that the survivors would continue to wander around looking for food and trying to survive until they die. The relationship between the boy and man was the only positive aspect of The Road. Although the world is falling apart around them, the relationship between the father and son grows stronger as their journey progresses. The father and son rely on each other for survival. Reading this story centered on loss and devastation makes me appreciate the world that we live in today and the possessions I have.
Elizabeth Lunde |
March 3, 2009 10:59 PM
The style of the writing in this book has kept me reading page after page. As the book starts out it is so vague and non-descript that it draws you in with the incomplete sentences and lack of personality in the man and the boy. Although it jumps back and forth and has little incomplete descriptions, the book is hard to put down. The short "choppy" flow of the story keeps the reader on it's toes, and the strength of the man and the boys bond draws you in to want more. The survival aspect of the book is reflected in the writing style as well. Just fighting to survive and having no hope for the future, lends itself to the lack of completeness and dialogue.
Even though the style is not what I am normally used to, McCarthy does an exceptional job of depicting the struggle and bond between the man and the boy for survival. It has sparked my own interest in wondering how I would handle the situation if it were my father and me in that type of position, and the lengths that I may go through for survival.
Jenny Yochim |
March 3, 2009 11:21 PM
The Road was an interesting book from start to finish. It really does a great job of making you think about what it would be like and what you would do if the world was "coming to and end" as in the book. I think it shows the capability of humans to fight against death and remain alive if there is something they are living for, such as the father, who in my opinion would have died long ago if not for the boy. In fact it kind of plays out that way in the book as he often wonders how long he has to live or how he is still alive and he eventually dies in the end but his goal of getting south with the boy was achieved. The will of the father to survive long enough to get south is emphasized when they began searching the fancy house which ends up containing the imprisoned people who are waiting to be eaten. He even says he normally wouldn't have searched houses in that area but they were desperate and finding the people just showed how dangerous it actually was. Another interesting thing about the man is that even in the hardest of times he still acts like a father which shows the bond they have as they really only have each other. I think the fact they only have each other in a dark world surrounded by bad guys is when they meet the elderly man on the road and the father is worried about him being a decoy for an ambush. The fact that the boy trusts him and wants to help portrays the differences in how people view the world as they grow older due to their experiences. When reading the passage where they found the hidden cellar with all the food and the father feels a little bad afterwards because part of him wishes they wouldn't have found it and it would just be over it made me think about what it would be like living like them. Possibly living for years more traveling on a road trying to avoid people who want to eat you, scavenging for any rotten food you can find, not being able to trust anyone but yourself or possibly a few people your with.
Keith Dahmen |
March 3, 2009 11:36 PM
The Road was a very strange book but it was interesting to read none the less. McCarthy's writing style was very different and it took a while to get used to the lack of punctuation and quotation marks.
This book was very depressing but had a lot of good lessons in it. The man and the boy stuck together through all the bad things that were happening. This shows the readers that you always need someone in your life no matter what. It is strange though that the boy decides to go to another family in the book. But, it must have been the best choice for him at the time though.
Even though the style was not what I was used to, I still found this book very interesting and it had lots of good points and lessons.
Jason Kaare |
March 4, 2009 12:33 AM
Wow. That was an amazing book. McCarthy's portrayal of a truly dying Earth and a father and son struggling to survive it was very direct and powerful. The book was very realistic in dealing with what life in such a world would be like. The two main characters are always on the move. For one they cannot stay in one place as they must constantly scavenge for food. In what is the most dramatic change from our current world there has been a massive extinction wiping out almost all plants and animals. The main characters are so forced to eat only canned goods from before the disaster; goods which are becoming increasingly rare and hard-to-find.
They are also trying to avoid other people as much as possible our of (an often well-justified) fear that they are untrustworthy. Throughout the book the father reassures his son that they are "good guys" unlike those people. At times however they (especially the father) take actions that are morally gray at best and no different from the "bad guys" at worst. The clearest example of this is at the end of the book where the father forces the cart thief to give over all of his possessions even after he gives them their cart back.
The ending of this novel was very impactful. With the father's constant coughing there was no doubt that his time was running out. He knows this and gives his son everything he can while he is alive. This only makes the father's death more painful. The "adoption" of son by the other family at the very end offers one of the few true rays of hope in this book, but you have to wonder how much hope it really is considering the world is still far away (hundreds of thousands if not millions of years) from mending itself.
Tyler Knott |
March 4, 2009 1:19 AM
The Road is easily one of the most gripping novels I’ve read to date. I read parts of it during a car ride coming back from Chicago, and though the sky grew darker and darker, my eyes strained to keep up. The book was very well paced, with adequate amounts of compassion and despair. Though the plot is a hard scenario to convey and really draw readers into, the author allows you to envision the circumstances through his use of vivid detail. The grime, the stenches, the discomfort, the triumphs, the fear, the doubt, the unknown – all were achieved in this bleak world. The authenticity with which the story was told also engaged me more than I would have presumed. This book frightened me. It had drawn me in so close that my heart was pounding and I was trying to stifle my coughs as I hid, right alongside the man and his boy. Though the text appears simple and disjointed, it contains so much more beneath the surface.
Caitlin Mitchell |
March 4, 2009 2:27 AM
This is a fantastic book. I haven't quite finished it yet, but I like the way that the book is written. It is easy to pick up and read (especially when the story really gets going).
I liked how much the man and the boy connect and care when all of these things are happening. It kind of reminds me of the Grapes of Wrath, with family members experiencing a horrific time, but they work though it and stay together, making their way though it (so far). Throughout the tough times, the man and boy are still together, their bond being the only thing right in a world of wrong.
Ryan Andersen |
March 4, 2009 3:12 AM
The Road is a pretty deep book. The author distances you from the characters, which only draws you in more. We have no idea who the father and son were and how the world came to what it was. The bland descriptions of the world they are in and their routine day to day activities is a different style than what I'm used to reading. The father obviously cares greatly for his son. Even though he is dying, he continues on each day trying to get further south and to find more food. His son greatly needs him and he is willing to do all he can to keep the both of them alive. The relationship of the father and son ties back to most of what we have been studying. Families are a complex network but in the end, will be there for you. Individuals in a family will sacrafice nearly everything in order for another member. Over all I didn't really enjoy the book based on its very depressing feel, but I did enjoy experiencing a different style of writing.
Erika Fernholz |
March 4, 2009 6:27 PM
The Road should not be read if you are having a good day, or a bad day for that matter. To me it seems unrelenting in its constant portrayal of how bleak our future is. The only positive or up lifting side to this book was the bond between a father and his son. The father is haunted by the idea that he might have to kill his on son with the pistol and two bullets they had with them. The idea of family to the father and son, is quite different than the "small band"s idea of a family. I found it hard to read about how the woman readily beheaded her baby and gutted it. For me that took cannibalism to the extreme.
Nathaniel McDonald |
March 5, 2009 11:09 PM
I really found this book interesting because as I was reading, I wanted to know what would happen to the father and his son next. This book was different from the other novels we read because it talked about father and his son lived in a world that most species have become extinct. The title of the book and the book itself match. The father and the son, we do not have a name for them, travel long distance along burned and empty space. They lost everything, but what they did not lose was love and caring they had to each other. The father was always putting his arms around his son as if something is taking away his son. the son asked his father questions because he was experiencing something he knew nothing about.
Omar Mohamed |
March 6, 2009 2:33 AM
I really enjoy this book. In the obvious sense I can not help but relate this to myself and my own father. What self-respecting man would not do this for his son. It brings to mind the whole existence of a family to me. You can bring in Hobbes who thinks that people are greedy or you can bring in Locke who thinks that people are good at heart and only watch out for themselves. But when they have a kid themselves they are willing to die for that person, as the father obviously demonstrates.
Lucien McBeth |
March 6, 2009 4:05 AM
As an apocalyptic book, The Road introduces what a family may be like in a living world where everything around is going dead. With just a boy and his father, the aftermath of an event is written as a scavenger hunt for food, shelter, and safety from the bad guys. The mother in the book made her decision to give up, as though she felt that death is better than living dead. This book had many depressing features, and thats what make it so interesting; knowing that there are so many possibilities to the end of the world, and this may be one of them. Families in books tend to play roles of hope, and in this book the family uplifts because of all the horrible events occuring. As an uplifting example in the book, the father wanted to live for his son, and his son wanted to live for his father through everything. In the end, you can understand that love plays and important role in the family, but its difficult to say why the author decided to kill the mother off instead of the father, so that she may go through things with her son instead of the father.
Patrice Wainwright |
March 6, 2009 3:15 PM
I do like to read books like this or watch movies. That have to do with the end of the world. I thought that it was interesting that the last two books have to do with fear of a house and a parent that has debated about killing the children or did it. When he had only two bullets I felt that he could have gone out and found more. Or killed an man that had a gun so that he could build up his own protection so that he could keep his son safe. From the people that ate kids, which I felt that it was out there.
March 8, 2009 8:26 AM
Landon Miller |
March 8, 2009 8:26 AM