The Journey in The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Categories: The Road

There are endless ways to interpret the things that are presented in life. Events, experiences, journeys, books, movies, plays, conversations, and interactions in general are all things that people react differently to. Take “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy for example; there are many ways to interpret this novel. However, even within the book there are events that occur that can be considered major contributions to the overall story. This is one of those novels that many people can analyze and pick apart, because of all the intricate components and suggestions.

One of the biggest contributions is the actual plot of the story; the man and his son are attempting to travel and find safety. The physical traveling adds so much to this story that some people don’t see, even though it is blatantly clear to others. For all of McCarthy’s inferences and set ups, the tool that he wielded with the journey is a major factor to the progression and the final outcome of his novel, “The Road.

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The actual journey that takes place in this novel is an important part of the characters’ lives. It shows growth in their lives and if affects their minds and bodies in ways that only a journey like this, searching for a new chance at life, could. Beginning with the man, the travelling takes a toll on his life. The story begins with him coughing up blood early on. The reader can realize that the world they (the man and his son) are in is no picnic, no easy thing to conquer, and that notion is enforced again when the novel presents a father coughing dangerously.

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Fathers are supposed to be strong and ferocious, able to handle anything, able to protect their children; this man is trying to be that for his son, in a strange world, and is weakening himself in the process. Throughout the novel his condition worsens. There are times when he states that his only reason for living on is his son. He cannot go on, though. The new world collects its price from the man in the form of his life; his relentless and grueling journey led to his ultimate exhaustion and downfall. The man was not suited for the world that had been reborn. The man led his son on, despite his hardships, for as long as he could. Because of this, the son continued on the same journey but with a different outcome. The boy, younger, newer, stronger, is able to handle the travelling. He is still a boy, and needs his father’s guidance and reassurance, but he is a strong lad and fights on. The way that the perilous journey affects the boy is it forces him to deal with the frights of the new world. He is shown a skewered baby, a basement of human-meals, evil men, and more. There is nowhere to run and hide, there is no way to wake up from the nightmare. He has to accept this and learn to deal with it, and so the journey strengthens him in mental and physical ways. He pushes on day after day, knowing there is no turning back, no release.

The two ways in which this journey affects the main characters is McCarthy telling his reader what this new world is about. The man was weakened by his journey. He coughed up blood and was ill for most of the book because of the post-apocalyptic ruin that was before him. He was unfit to survive in the new era. However, his son grew into the life that had been forced upon him. The boy tackled the journey and dealt with the fears that invaded his mind on the way. The boy is the symbol of newness that must inhabit the reformed world. In a sense, the man and his son are the world. The journey they take, trying to find answers and safety and good life, ends the life of the old and invokes the growth of the new. This is what the journey is truly about; renewal and rebirth. Cormac McCarthy has planned for the future by writing his novel, “The Road.” The way that he illustrates the struggles of a man and his son in a reformed world shows that his philosophy is out with the old and in with the new. He created a journey to help the reader realize this and experience the harsh reality that change will come, whether people are ready or not. The only way to prepare is to know that not a single person will react the same and there are no ways to predict what will be.

Cite this page

The Journey in The Road by Cormac McCarthy. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from

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