Part one: Identify the theme and significance of the passage. “This is my child, he said. I wash a dead man’s brains out of his hair. That is my job. Then he wrapped him in the blankets and carried him to the fire.”

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In Cormac McCarthy’s bleak dystopian novel The Road, a father and son wander across post-apocalyptic America avoiding all sorts of danger while trying to survive. The themes of the passage you have selected are parenthood, sadness, and pragmatism. The best way to understand this passage is to unpack it sentence by sentence:

“This is my child, he said. I wash a dead man’s brains out of his hair. That is my job. Then he wrapped him in the blankets and carried him to the fire.”

Firstly, the quotation marks used above were added by me. Cormac McCarthy often does not use quotation marks in his work. In The Road , this scarcity of punctuation works to good effect: it underscores the scarcity of the world,...

(The entire section contains 387 words.)

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