The Road

Discussion in 'General Discussion Forum' started by welsh, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Cimmerian Nights

    Cimmerian Nights So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2004
    Can't be that bad for you Max, don't you live in New Haven? :wink:
  2. 4too

    4too Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 30, 2003
    End Game

    End Game

    Could consider McCarthy's ending two ways.

    As last reel morality. The cynical movie trick of satisfying convention.
    The need to feed the reader a positive end after their journey through the dark night with the dying duo.
    A 'happy meal' ending with action figure and fries. Not a win-win to appease the warm and fuzzy, still a winning season.

    As reward for Darwinian hard work. Although the deck was stacked, the consequences were 'fairly' resolved after the initial 'raw' deal. The story stayed true to the characters. The father and son became an expert survival team. The quest to find OTHERS, other people strong, resourceful, and of equal moral foundation, was realized.

    How long can the parasite survive after the host has died? The father and son were seeking a community that was self sustaining, had a future, did not eat it's young.

  3. citizenkhan

    citizenkhan It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 10, 2005
    Stayed up until last night until 5 AM reading it. It's an arrestingly powerful book. It makes me want to spend time with my father, for one.
  4. 4too

    4too Vault Senior Citizen

    Apr 30, 2003
    Father Versus Son

    Father Versus Son

    Haris suggested I go out and talk to people.
    Discover how real folks discourse.
    Went out the back door.
    No body there.
    No dazzling interaction beyond the mono syllable conventions of commerce seemed present at the service a station next door.
    Due to the peculiarities of this urban suburb, the side walk ends at my west boundary. No fragment of sidewalk for a 100 yards.
    Car Culture well established when this portion of Ohio tax structure was wrested from agricultural pastoral stagnation.
    No self declared world english speakers awaiting to be emulated. Not even the Swedish Chef on the TV.

    Speculated that "Our Brother From Another Planet'' as iconic a character as any playing Frisbee Tag at DAC
    was pointing in the same direction as some stalwart authority figures at NMA.
    Welsh said READ to improve communal cognition.
    A carnation of Kharn encouraged focused essays (write and rewrite) to curb the rampaging vocabulary, and randomly evoked grammar.

    Time and tide offer one or the other, cut bait, or go fish,

    I have been cutting bait.

    Got through Cormac McCarthy's ""Blood Meridian"". The Judge and The Kid seem to be an anti- relationship. An 'Apocalypse Now' bald, Big Brando of a demon philosopher, as the adult supervision you must flee to survive, and a hard luck runaway
    you'd never want to meet.
    Not a romantic depiction of THE WEST, nor WAR, or the 'Pursuit Of Happiness'.

    Hardly a conventional ''hero's journey''.
    More of a medieval morality play.

    No glorious 7th Calvary, only a final reel like the ''The 7th Seal''.

  5. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    finally got around to reading it. decent book, but nothing special really.

    i was kinda annoyed by his choice of words at times. also the end is much too Holywood for me.

    there's a few things i still don't understand (the continued fires etc), but i suppose that is the entire intent.
  6. Seraphim Pwns U

    Seraphim Pwns U It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 9, 2006
    While I'm genuinely curious about the book... something slightly more curious occured to me...

    Does anyone actually understand 4too?
  7. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    Grave digging- but then as an admin, I am allowed such guilty pleasures.-

    Finally caught up with my McCarthy readings-

    Over the past couple of months I finished off-
    (1) No Country for Old men- loved it.
    (2) Blood Meridian- ALso loved it.
    (3) THe Road- which I greatly enjoyed.

    In response to some of the comments- especially 4too, I think the ending is a return to what Lehane mentions as McCarthy´s Gnostic sensibilities. You see this also in Blood Meridian.

    I agree- Blood Meridian plays the Kid (who seems to possess some moral code) against the Judge (who responds to a claim by the kind `you´re nothing´with- ´you don´t know how right you are´) as a biblical story of light vs dark, good vs evil.

    Blood Meridian´s ending follows the main body of the story- involving scalp hunting along the mexico-texas border in the 1840-1850 period. Throughout this the Kid possess little more morality than the rest of the gang, but the Judge (Judge Holden) is really a despicable person who will blot out all life that he has not allowed to exist. This guy is so wicked that he buys a couple of puppies only to toss them in the river.

    In Blood Meridian- the Kid is finally left to wander and the ending summaries decades in few pages. But in those few pages, the Kid is shiftless and alone and at one point he lives a child essentially an orphan (much as the story begins with his own experience as an orphan). After this he encounters the judge and it is suggested that the Judge grabs the Kid and essentially destroys him in an outhouse. Latter the judge is seen dancing in the bar and proclaims that he will never die and the dance (a dance of destruction and death) will go on forever.

    In a sense we can see the Judge as a depiction of evil- a destroyer and corrupter, a lier and deceiver.

    In the Road we have other images in which the father sees the child as the voice of god. I saw that more as representaitve of the father´s love of the child. But there are a couple of points when the story suggests more. A few times the characters are left almost to starve to death, but each time the father finds food- somewhat miraculously given the shortages. We are told that the hope never really fades.

    SPoiler- although the father dies- he does so at a point when the son is more capable of taking care of himself and the father sees the son as glowing with light. Even when the father dies, the son is discovered by a passerby who has been tracking them who apparently decides to adopt the son. Miracles again. THe son´s faith in goodness, his moral code, and the frequent statements of having the light, and of being ´the good guys´. may suggest something more- the spirit of hope and goodness.

    So I think McCarthy is again pointing out some spiritual hope in this. This isn-t really a Christian hope- for the father points out that mankind is past religious distinctions- but I think something more profound and perhaps gnostic.

    One view of gnosticism believed that the material world was evil, but the spiritual offered redemption and godliness. It seems that McCarthy is again playing on that theme.
  8. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    as said, very holywoodian ending... book would've been better if it had been a raw one (though that in itself doesn't have to mean death for all).

    either way, it was enjoyable, but i really dont see why so many people are so hyped about it.
  9. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    Part of the reason is that it leaps from genre fiction or, more importantly, moved from literature to genre- giving genre more depth.

    Well let´s not forget that another big book not so old was Margaret Atwood´s a Handmaiden´s Tale, that was also post apocalyptic.

    I think its big because McCarthy is pretty powerful a figure in the literary world. One of the reviewers of the Road points out that McCarthy represents a ´tough guy´realm of contemporary literature- an opposing force to the more ´savant´approach-,,1938709,00.html

    McCarthy is of the tough guy mode. These are less thinking characters than actors who display their actions in what they do. What they do and what they say matter more. McCarthy´s use of language helps color the canvas, but that´s all. When he uses Calamites to discribe some of those captured by cannibals- he returns to a more primitive state or powerlessness not seen since Rome.

    Suaside, you and others have pointed out that McCarthy´s unwillingness to use grammar is annoying. What I was initially puzzled with, when reading All the Pretty Horses (which is a great read) is that he can go pages in Spanish- which can be annoying as hell if you don´t know the language. In Blood Meridian there is a section where a wandering carnival group tells the fortune of the scalp hunters, but that´s in Spanish too. Either as reader you get it or you don´t. McCarthy doesn´t really give a shit.

    Same goes with some of the grammar. WHy no quotes? Well I suspect that for McCarthy when someone says something, than its just out there. It is less a possession of a character than something inherent and self-possessed- an idea once articulated and now in the wind. Perhaps it has something to do with his gnostic-like approach- I don´t know.

    Genre writers point out that the Road makes some mistakes-
    for example- aren´t those cities radioactive? What about the dust?

    Thing is that this might be genre fiction to those who enjoy genre elements. But I think the Road transcends genre, but escaping genre elements.

    For instance- compare two bits taken from the review linked above-
    McCarthy´s the Road-
    The dead wife says to the father character-

    Compare to - Summer of the Apocalypse

  10. SuAside

    SuAside Testament to the ghoul lifespan

    May 27, 2004
    the grammar wasnt really my gripe, but rather the individual choice of words at times. i felt it broke the flow of reading at times, because some drew undue attention.
  11. welsh

    welsh Junkmaster

    Apr 5, 2003
    McCarthy´s use of language is particular at time. It worked for me in Blood Meridian. In the Road I read the language more in terms of the main character´s thoughts.

    Blood Meridian is still the best of his work, though Outer Dark is pretty good.
  12. JohnnyEgo

    JohnnyEgo Mostly Harmless

    Oct 22, 2007
    The Road was the first McCarthy book I read. I enjoyed it. Thought it was relatively honest. I laughed and laughed when I saw that Oprah recommended it.

    Some of the other EOTW books I've read that I thought were well written and very interesting are "The Brief History of the Dead", "The Pest House", "Oryx and Crake", and "Cat's Cradle".

    Oryx & Crake and Cat's Cradle are both about the dangers of science run-amok. The Pest House is more Road-like in just focusing on life after the collapse of society. Brief History of the Dead is a good bit different then the others, mixing EOTW with philosophy. I really liked all four of these books.

    I bought "No Country for Old Men", and purposely avoided seeing the movie until after I've had the opportunity to read it.
  13. Serbaside

    Serbaside Casual Vaulter

    Dec 20, 2005
    I am thinking about getting this, but a little taken back with Oprah's name being on it. The reviews I have read make it sound like On the Beach, which I felt was just awful on many levels (though it is considered fantastic by many).

    So is The Road like On the Beach?