With my last post, I would like to discuss the ending of The Road and my final thoughts. I want to begin by backtracking a little to when the man and the boy came upon the last house mentioned in the book (203-204). They begin to look through the house for other people in order to be extra cautious. They were in need of more food and water, so they began rummaging through the kitchen and any hidden compartments they could find. “In the kitchen there was cutlery and cooking pans and english china” (206). In the butler’s pantry, they found “green beans. Slices of red pepper…tomatoes. Corn. New potatoes. Okra” (206). They had gathered enough food to last them a couple of days.
Now, let’s begin with the man being shot in the leg with an arrow. The man and the boy were in a town, and someone in a window of a taller building was aiming a bow and arrow towards them. “He grabbed the boy and fell on top of him and grabbed the cart to pull it to them” (263). The man was trying to grab a flare gun to shoot at the person in the window, but by that time, the man had already been shot in the leg with the arrow.
After a couple of days, the man finally regained enough strength to begin their journey again. Since it had only been a couple of days and the man’s leg had not had time to heal, “the man [was] limping along behind the cart and the boy keeping close to his side” (270). The boy was genially concerned for papa’s health. Due to his injury, McCarthy informs us that the man us constantly coughing. The man is drooling blood and “spitting blood” (273).
What tears my heart into pieces is when the man tells the boy that he needs “to go on…I cant go with you. This has been a long time coming” (278). The man had told the boy that he “wouldnt ever leave him. I’m sorry. You have my whole heart. You always did” (279). After reading this, I got really sad because I feel bed for the boy. Once the boy worked up enough courage, “he went down the road as far as he dared and then he came back. His father was asleep” (280). The boy just could not bring himself to leave his father to die in the middle of the woods of nowhere by himself.
I began to cry because this next part was by far the saddest thing in the book. The boy “slept close to his father that nigh…but when he woke in the morning his father was cold and stiff. He stayed three days” and cried (281). Luckily, after papa dies, a an comes along down the road and finds the boy. He tells him that he is a good guy and finally convinces the boy to come with him so that he can take care of him.
I feel as if after papa died and the man found the boy, the ending of The Road was actually somewhat of a happy ending. “There were brook trout in the streams in the mountains” (286).
I personally enjoyed this book. Just by looking at the title, I do not think I would have ever picked it up to read it voluntarily. I feel like Cormac McCarthy did a good job of creating the image of society today; such as how we act and how we treat one another. Throughout the entire novel, an image of sacrificial love was presented. It is only through the man and boy’s love for each other that they were able to conquer the toughest of times. The rough and troubling times they went through just helped make their love for each other stronger because they did not know what was to come or how long they had left to live.
What I realized about half way through the book was the importance for you to have hope throughout their whole journey. The needed it in order to survive as long as they did. The man and boy did not know where they were headed; they would use the map to make sure they were heading towards the coast. They had to have hope because they did not always know where their next meal was coming from. They were not guaranteed a shelter every night to keep themselves dry from the rain. They were not even guaranteed to have a fire every night in order to stay warm. The man and boy had to hope they would be given the smallest amount they needed in order to make it to the next day and not die in their sleep.
McCarthy drew a vivid picture of how humans treat each other. Everyone around has basically turned savage. We are given bad guys that will rape, kill, and eat the good guys to provide for themselves and the other bad guys. This is what I did not like about the book because Cormac would give us descriptive events of headless roasting infants and preserved heads on counters. I am not someone that typically gets grossed out or I scared of stuff like that, but I could not image witnessing that or doing it myself.
The important message I would encourage everyone to take from the journey on The Road is that love and relationships keep us human and prevent us from giving into our darker, more savage and evil sides. One of my favorite reviews from Time magazine is “The Road is a widely powerful and disturbing book that exposes whatever black bedrock lies beneath grief and horror. Disaster has never felt more physically and spiritually real.” The review from Rocky Mountain News says, “We find this violent, grotesque world rendered in gorgeous, melancholic, even biblical cadences…Few books can do more; few have done better. Read this book.” From the three Cormac McCarthy books I have read, this is my all-time favorite. It tells a story while also teaching a lesson. I 100% recommend this book to anyone that is up for the challenge.