The Road Essay

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Cormac McCarthy: The Road to Hope or Destruction Hope is one of the few qualities that separate man from animal. Its presence can be our guiding light and will to go on, or its absence can lead us to ruin and despair. I chose this book to write my research paper on, because I believe hope is the most important reason we survive. It is the reason we go on living and it is the reason we try to build a better life for ourselves and future generations. This theme of hope vs. despair is prevalent throughout McCarthy’s novel which was written in 2006, but set sometime in a post-apocalyptic future. Humanity is crumbling and left with no resources to survive, to the point where even vegetation can no longer grow. For the main characters in this book, which I will refer to as father and son, because we are not given specific names, life seems bleak and desolate. It would be so easy for them to give up. Death even seems like a welcoming alternative in most cases. However, these two “good guys” continue to embrace their humanity, which encompasses virtues such as kindness, gratitude and humility. The father not only helps to reinforce these virtues to his son (future generations), but oftentimes he has to look to his son (future/hope) for the will to believe that life will not always be so desolate, it will go on and it will get better. McCarthy’s purpose in writing this novel is to show us how powerful hope can be and that it is the difference between hope/despair that keeps us human. This “road” that McCarthy keeps referring to throughout the novel is symbolic of the journey that everyone must take in life, regardless of what situations they must face along the way. I found this book to be somewhat along the lines of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. While although Bunyan’s story was one which was based on a more personal journey, and The Road

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