The Road
By Cormac McCarthy


The story centers around a father and his son traveling in post-apocalyptic America. We aren’t sure what exactly caused this and the author never tells us what happened. With little food and water they travel to a warmer climate. Along the way they deal with sickness, cannibals, starvation, and others desperate like they are. The father only has his son that’s keeping him going. This novel is disturbing but it touches you all at the same time.


Cormac McCarthy was born on June 20, 1933. He was raised Roman Catholic and grew up in Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee. From there he joined Air Force for 4 years. He returned to school and wrote short stories which won Ingram-Merrill Award for creative writing. Since then he has traveled Europe and married. He has written 10 novels so far with a new one due out soon.


There are only two major characters. We are only introduced to them as The Man and The Boy. The Man is the Boy’s father and at the beginning of the novel we find out that this is the beginning of the end for him. It’s only a matter of time. The Boy is the Man’s son and he is what keeps the Man living for another day. He has a certain innocence to him yet he is callous to everything else around him. The Man’s wife left him because she saw no hope in continuing to live in such a wasteland. Both characters are sick and malnourished which affect them in what they do to survive.


This takes place in post-apocalyptic America. Since they do make it to the Atlantic ocean that means they must be in the east. The ash falls and covers everything in sight. There are cold harsh winters and the summers brutal. Everything is dead around them.road-cormac-FS-aug-04.jpg


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Study Questions

1. Where is The Man's wife?
2. Why don't the Man and the Boy become cannibals?
3. Why hasn't the Man just killed himself and the Boy?
4. What do you think has happened to society?
5. Do you think they will find what they are looking for?


"People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there."
"Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave."
"He sat there cowled in the blanket. After a while he looked up. Are we still the good guys? he said.
Yes. We're still the good guys.
And we always will be.
Yes. We always will be."
"He thought if he lived long enough the world at last would be lost. Like the dying world the newly blind inhabit, all of it slowly fading from memory."