Despite theinteresting plot, Cormac McCarthy fails to illustrate the events that led to the end of the world in the book. This book is just a description of the events that build up to the situation in which the father and son find themselves. Rambo explains that the boy and the father were the only survivors after the apocalypse.. (12)Although the events leading to the situation that the father and the son are the sole survivors of a catastrophe are vague, there are genuinely heart-warming moments in the book.
Rambo explains how desolate the world remains after the apocalypse. The book does no go into too much details about the events that led up to this situation and this makes it impossible to identity if the events are fictitious or not. Moreover, the author fails to explain how the conditions that rendered the world inhabitable affect the man and the boy. Rambo states that, “both the man and the boy move through the remains of houses, of streets, of dried-out streams and barren farmlands” (13).This text clearly indicates that there was a catastrophic event that facilitated the apocalypse. According to Rambo (12), the land is covered in ashes and there are no signs of life in the land.Although there are a number of similarities between the post-apocalyptic and pre-apocalypse world, there does not seem to be a concrete connection between the two. Moreover, the unnamed characters in the book do not bear any significant memory which can give an insight into their past lives. As such, the author fails to convince readers that the story is a true event that occurred during a specific time.
The survival of the two signifies their uniqueness compared to other humans. According to Rambo (45), the glimpses of the previous lives and world are a sign that the two are not mutants as portrayed by the writer. In this manner, while there are only two survivors, it is imperative to question their purpose in the story. McCarthy says, “Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again” (241). However, the author explains the reason why the boy does not know about the previous world..
Later, the author explains that the boy meets another family that embraces him after his father dies (Rambo 45).Accordingto McCarthy, the mother would talk to him about God (45). The author explains that the mother tried to explain to him how God breathes through every individual (McCarthy 241). The boy’s survival after his father’s death is fictitious and unrealistic. Yet Schwartz says, “the threat is not just dying; it’s surviving” (14). Although the author uses the event to explain how the boy is redeemed from the collapsed world, the story fails to convince the readers by the use of the event as a testimony. McCarthy uses her story to explain the persistence, hope as well as regeneration after the collapse of the world(246).
In as much as McCarthy uses the story to explain how parental love can bring hope and triumph to individuals, the story remains scanty(231). The apocalypse in the text has not been discussed in depth to allow the readers understand the actual events that occurred in the world. Kathleen, critics the work of McCarthy by claiming that, the redemptive mythologyfails to consider the connection between the previous world and the present world(50). On the other hand, Rambo explains that there is no connection between the past, present and, the future according to McCarthy’s tale(4). Rambo maintains that the story explains an impossibility(6). The life after resurrection and how Christians struggle to continue to eternity is not well explained by the author.
Although one can decipher what the author is trying to explain, it is difficult to understand why the writer uses an ambiguous method to explain the process of redemption and resurrection (Brinkmeyer 40). Rambo further claims that the tale of the apocalyptic world and the occurrences in it cannot be explained through McCarthy’s story alone (7). Most literally critics believe that there is no life ahead of the redemption. Rambo understands redemption as a violent word that explains the event that occurs in an unrecoverable world(3). On the other hand, Dana explains that McCarthy’s story explains how underexplored story of redemption after an apocalyptic ending is(34). He believes that the generative stories can be done in a better way than this.
Meanwhile, McAdamsexplains that McCarthy uses a child-like description to talk about catastrophic event that has torn apart the world.(5). The story is imaginary and may not be used to explain how lives are redeemed after the apocalypse. The hardships that the boy and the man go through are enough to convince the reader that they are redeemed. Moreover, the boy finallygets redeemed by an imaginary mother. This story is therefore quite unrealistic, unreal and anecdotal.
McAdams, Daniel. The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By . New York: Oxford UP, 2006.
McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York: Knopf, 1996.
Phillips, Dana. “History and the Ugly Facts of Blood Meridian.” Cormac McCarthy: New Directions . Ed. James D. Lilley. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico, 2002. 17-46.
Rambo, Shelly L. “Beyond Redemption?: Reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road after the End of the World.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 41.2 (2008): 99.
Sands, Kathleen. “Tragedy, Theology, and Feminism in the Time after Time.” New Literary History35 (2004): 41-61.
Schwartz, John Burnham. MP3 Commentary. “The Audio Book Club on Cormac McCarthy.” 31 May 2007. Slate. From: <http://www.slate.com/id/2167335/>.