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List all of the themes found in "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.

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melwel | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted June 15, 2009 at 2:34 PM via web

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List all of the themes found in "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 15, 2009 at 11:53 PM (Answer #1)

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When you are looking to find a theme of a piece of literature, keep in mind that themes can ususally be stated in one word, and that word describes something pretty major that is evident in the writing.  And, themes aren't necessarily etched in stone; there are so many different possibilities for themes in every piece of writing.   If you want to find the themes that you feel your teacher is asking for, think about what he/she has discussed the most in relation to the book so far, and that will lead you to the themes they might be seeking.

In Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," there are many possibilities for themes.  If you think about the novel as a whole, what are some things, feelings, or areas that are most obvious?  This a novel that is filled with pretty sad and depressing events, so most of the themes are going to be dire:  loss, loneliness, survival, destruction, isolation, despair, and endurance.  Any one of those words can sum up a good portion of the focus of the novel, and you could take any one of them and discuss it in great detail.  However, there are underlying themes that are more positive:  humanity, decency, familial love, and loyalty.  These positive traits are evidenced through the narrator and his son, while most of the more negative themes come out through the world that they are living in.

I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

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bkbrownlee | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 5, 2011 at 1:05 PM (Answer #2)

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I would suggest there are multiple ways to consider even the concept of theme itself. While many suggest one-word themes such as "isolation" or "destruction," one can also go deeper by forming statements that embody the author's message. For example, one might assert McCarthy is saying, "that one should ‘simply care about things and people and be more appreciative…’" or "Life is pretty damn good, even when it looks bad. We should be grateful" (Conlon). Both of those statements, by the way, came from an interview with the author himself. So to paraphrase, one could say a theme of the novel is gratitude for that which with we have been blessed. Many people today are so materialistic and honed in on ideas of success or recognition. If the world were gone in a day, what would they be left with that really mattered? What really matters to YOU?

That's one lesson McCarthy teaches with this incredibly written novel.

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bleilo | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted September 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM (Answer #3)

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The bond of a father and son, prevails over all.

 The "Good Guys" prevail.

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tristankhan | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 24, 2012 at 1:31 PM (Answer #4)

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nostalgia 

conflict in ideology 

ethics 

memory 

globlalization 

hope 

survival 

father/son relations 

order 

borders 

community 

purpose 

individuality 

apocalypse 

 

To name a few...

Not in any order of relevance or importance. 

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elliott67898 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:26 AM (Answer #5)

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?

 

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dianabanana116 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 22, 2011 at 6:33 AM (Answer #6)

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i have 3 weeks to read this!

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