In today’s post, I am going to be talking about one of the next scenes in The Road. We are finally introduced to another person about a quarter of the way through the book. I feel his part is very significant to the man and son’s traveling experience. Also, I believe the events that come with the man’s appearance have an impact on the boy. The man appeared with a group of people in a truck (60). Like the boy and man, we are not given a specific name for him. Cormac describes him as having a square bottom beard and “a tattoo of a bird on his neck” (63). He is “lean, wiry, rachitic,” dressed in “filthy blue coveralls,” and a black hat. A few pages later, “papa” gives us another, more cannibalism description of the man. He says the man has “reptilian calculations in those cold and shifting eyes” and “gray and rotting teeth. Claggy with human flesh” (75). I feel this description is a little harsh. But, since I cannot physically see the man, “papa’s” description helps me get a more vivid image of him. He seems like a pretty terrifying looking man. I would rather not see him on the side of the road when I have nowhere to go.
We are given another time where we see that “papa” will do anything for the boy. The man “looked at the boy. You wont shoot” (64). While holding a knife, McCarthy says that “he was almost between him and the boy” (66). Then, we are told he “dove and grabbed the boy and rolled and came up holding him against his chest with the knife at his throat.” HE WAS GOING TO KILL THE BOY! What kind of sick person is he? Papa “dropped to the ground” and “fired from a two-handed position” from six feet away. “The man fell back instantly and lay with blood bubbling from the hole in his forehead.” When the boy stood up, the man felt bad that he had to experience that. Having a knife at his throat and seeing someone get shot probably does not help the fact the boy is scared of everything.
Papa looks and sees that there is “a single round left in the revolver” (68). I believe he is afraid another person is going to show up, and he will not be able to protect them. On down, McCarthy says that he does not know “how long they might be willing to lie in ambush” (69). I think papa and the boy are worried the people are going to find them again.
Later on, we are introduced to the group of bad guys. This is the first description we are given of the bad guys. They look like “an army in tennis shoes” and “bearded, their breath smoking through their masks” (91). With them were “wagons drawn by slaves in harness and piled with goods of war.” Then, there were the women. There is roughly a dozen of them, “some pregnant” and “fitted in dogcollars” (92). I think back to earlier when the mother when the mother says “they will catch us and they will kill us. They will rape me” (56). I believe these are the bad guys she is referring to, and all the people they have chained up with them are the people they have found and captured.
I wonder what is to come on The Road.