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Literature & Language
English (U.S.)
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The Road By Cormac McCarthy: Post-Apocalypse (Essay Sample)


BACKGROUND: For the semester we have been practicing analyzing metaphors when they appears in either poetry, fiction, or even hybrid genre texts. The Road is chock-full of metaphors that elucidate the deepest implications about human nature, especially when faced with such an extreme environment. In this essay you will analyze one of the central themes of the book through the lens of one of its most dominant symbols or metaphors.
ESSAY TOPIC: One of the most dominant symbols of the novel is "carrying the fire." Actually, both fire and light recur quite often in the novel in negative and positive ways. However, it is most important as a symbol with regards to the relationship between the father and son. ANALYZE AND ELUCIDATE ONE OF THE NOVEL'S CENTRAL THEMES USING THE REOCCURRING SYMBOL OF "CARRYING THE FIRE."
REQUIREMENTS: Your piece should have an INTRODUCTION that presents your argument (thesis) And provides context for your discussion of the essay topic.
*Your piece should have an argument thesis that answers the prompt and can be further developed with individual points. Your thesis should be one central opinions, not a list of multiple arguments.
*Your body paragraphs should have the following: TOPIC SENTENCES that state specific ideas or opinions to prove and develop your thesis. MULTIPLE, SPECIFIC EXAMPLES to support those opinions. Thorough ANALYSIS of how each example supports the point of the paragraph and the overall thesis.
*As part of your response you must also thoroughly ANAYLYZE AT LEAST TWO METAPHORS found in the text.
*Your piece should have a CONCLUSION that clarifies and discusses the significance of your overall argument and does not simply restate or summarize what you have previously written


Student's Name
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
The Road is a novel that centers on the events during a post-apocalyptic period. As is typical for such a period, every human being has to do all it takes to ensure survival. However, in doing this, some revert to using dubious, cannibalistic and inhuman means while others have to struggle to survive against this in an honest way. In this regard, the novel explores one central theme of good versus evil by using different characters, particularly through the eyes of The Man and The Boy, who have not been given actual names in the novel. Being a post-apocalyptic novel, some of the good and evil are justified given that survival has to be attained using any means possible. The author had used symbols such as “carrying the fire” to indicate the unwavering hope good people have for survival. In addition, the novel includes various metaphors, which have been purposefully used to help in the development of the theme of good versus evil.
In “The Road”, there is a clear divide between those who do good and those that evil as shown through the perspectives of the man and the his son. For example, according to the boy, the thieves, cannibals and murderers who only intent to cause harm to others are the evil people. On the other hand, he considers himself and his father as being on the good side because they somehow tend to fight against this evil. The boy's perception is evidenced by the fact that he keeps asking his father to confirm that they are indeed “the good guys” and not the bad ones. The man in the novel seems to hold the same view as his son based on his own definition of good people. He says that to be a good person means to “keep trying” and in all that good people do, “they don't give up” (N.p). True to the man's words, the two keep pressing on despite the challenges they meet on the way such as starving after running out of food, and even fighting off the bad people. The boy's need for constant reassurance that they were good people is driven by the fact that sometimes his father had to use some “bad” means to save them. For instance, at one point the man had to shoot another man who sought to harm his son. In some way, the boy fears that someday he will also have to use such violent and barbaric means to survive, which is why he seeks the confirmation of them being good.
The world in “The Road” seems to achieve a balance by the existence of both good and evil. The two forces are necessary for society to function well as they usually reveal the true nature of humans. For instance, the boy and his father continuously remind each other that they are the good guys. Even when the father feels hopeless about the future, the boy uses the above reasons to encourage him. As much as we feel empathy for them for having to survive in such an environment, this changes with the introduction of cannibalistic beings. The boy is good in almost all the instances and gets easily touched by other people's misfortunes. For example after the encounter with a man that had been burnt by ash, he insists that they should help him. He is heard saying “can't we help him papa?” (N.p). He insists even though the case is hopeless. He cries in most other instances when his father kills people to protect him. While the boy maintains his character throughout the movie and does only good, the case is different with the father. He is seen as being both good and evil especially after the encounter with the cannibals. His good side is seen when he chooses to provide for his son first before himself when they get some food on the way. His evil side is seen when he kills one of the marauders. Sometime later, the man forces a t...

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