Although my last post contained a positive event in the book, that won’t be the case for this post. When reading, I came upon some kind events and some extremely harsh events that are so bad that I do not see why Cormac McCarthy could write it.
I want to begin by talking about another traveler they found on the road. He is described as “an old man, small and bent” that “smelled terrible and using “a peeled stick for a cane” (161). There was “a filthy towel tied under his jaw as if he suffered from toothache.” The old man assumed the man and boy were bad guys coming to get him, just like when humans make false first impressions of people today. He had “no shoes” and many layers of “clothing showed through the tears and holes in it” (162). McCarthy even stays that “he looked like a pile of rags fallen off a cart.” When reading this, I think back to when the boy was described as “something out of a deathcamp” (117). This shows us just how brutal life out on the road is. The boys gives us a rare act of kindness when he basically forces “papa” to give the man food. The old man cannot remember when his last meal was (166). We as humans take advantage of the steady supply of food. We are never truly starving. This makes me feel terrible because I cannot do anything to help the old man; I would love to give him tons of food.
While eating, the old man informs them that he “knew this was coming” (168). He is referring to the cruel and disastrous time they are going through. My new favorite quote from this book comes to us from the old man when he basically slaps society with the truth: “When we’re all gone at last then there’ll be nobody here but death and his days will be numbered too. He’ll be out in the road there with nothing to do and nobody to do it to” (173). The next morning, the man and boy parted from the old man, and they went their separate ways.
While “papa” was still asleep one morning, the boy went looking through the woods. He came upon a train (178). It looked to have been rummaged through and abandoned. They climbed aboard and got it going. They came up to a town, stopped the train, and got off.
I feel McCarthy was severely drugged when he was writing this book because he writes, “By then all stores of food had given out and murder was everywhere upon the land. The world soon to be largely populated by men who would eat your children” in front of you (181). I’m sorry, but I would never be able to eat a child no matter how hungry I am. People in the city are “like shoppers in the commissaries of hell.”
Another messed up part in this book happened while the man and boy are in a store. The man notices “a human head beneath a cakebell at the end of the counter. Dessicated. Wearing a ballcap. Dried eyes turned sadly inward (184). I’m sorry, but if I was to see that, it would be every man for himself. I would take off running and it does not matter who I leave behind.
The final part I am going to be talking about today is even more insane than the human head. With a little boy watching, “serpents perhaps a hundred in number” gathered in a ditch “for common warmth” (187). Could they have been the naked men and women locked away in the hatch? “Man poured gasoline on them and burned them alive.” LIKE WHAT!?!?!?!?!?! “There were no screams of pain and the men watched them burn and writhe and blacked.” After standing in silence for a while, the men left the scene “each with his own thoughts to go home to their suppers” (189). WHAT THE HECK!!! How could someone set a fellow human on fire? This just makes me feel sick to my stomach. I just want to walk up to those men and punch them as hard as I can. Then, I want them to get caught on fire, so they know what it feels like. Earlier in the book, I remembered reading that there was “a metal trashdump where someone had once tried to burn bodies” (150).
I just don’t see how McCarthy could write something so cruel and inhumane.