Questions and Answers for The Road

The Road

How does the wife specifically die in The Road?

In the film version of Cormac McCarthy's novel, the "wife" played by Charlize Theron, looks intently at her husband (Viggo Mortensen) and speaks clearly: "They're going to rape me. They're going to...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2018 5:56 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

In The Road, what does "Carrying the fire" mean?

Fire has incredible importance to our species. It is no coincidence that many cultures consider it divine (or a gift from the gods). It does, after all, represent a major separation between people...

Latest answer posted June 12, 2018 2:17 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Road

Please explain the meaning of the following quote from The Road by Cormac McCarthy. "'You forget somethings, don’t...

The boy asks his father this question as they are trudging through a burned out, desolate city. They see a dried up corpse, and the father pulls the son closer, indicating that he shouldn't want to...

Latest answer posted June 20, 2020 8:59 pm UTC

4 educator answers

The Road

Why does Cormac McCarthy not give his characters names in The Road? How do the labels "boy" and "man" affect the way...

This is most likely an artistic decision, done primarily for aesthetic effect and narrative reinforcement. The world of McCarthy's The Road is a bleak and barren wasteland. When we read McCarthy's...

Latest answer posted November 19, 2019 10:33 am UTC

5 educator answers

The Road

What is the significance of the man's dream in the novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy?

I would go so far as to say that it is not just the man's "dream" that is important, but all of his dreams. In fact, dreams end up becoming a theme in this important novel. In short, the man's...

Latest answer posted January 26, 2016 12:18 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

What is Cormac McCarthy trying to teach us as human beings through the novel "The Road"? What is Cormac McCarthy...

I don't know that there is necessarily a deeper message. McCarthy is a master storyteller and, first and foremost, a writer. The message I take away from this story (whether it was intended or...

Latest answer posted August 17, 2011 7:52 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Road

What is the setting and point of view of "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy?

The setting is a very unique and interesting one. It is set in the future, at some indeterminate time. The novel occurs after a nuclear holocaust has wiped out nearly all of the inhabitants of...

Latest answer posted September 7, 2009 10:45 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

What would be a good thesis for an essay on The Road by Cormac McCarthy?  

A good place to start with a thesis statement is to write a statement that you either believe in or a statement that you can adequately support. For a thesis statement regarding an entire novel, I...

Latest answer posted December 5, 2019 11:32 pm UTC

5 educator answers

The Road

Reference from "The Road" about when the mother killed herself, and when the father dies, and when the good family...

The problem with page numbers is that every version of the book is different, and so the page numbers don't correlate. But I can try to help you pinpoint about where in the book each of these...

Latest answer posted November 10, 2009 3:04 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

In what time period does The Road take place?

We are never told precisely when the novel is set, however, from the descriptions of the devastation that some kind of apocalypse has caused, and from the flashbacks that the novel includes, we can...

Latest answer posted June 14, 2011 7:36 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

What is the importance of dreams in The Road?

What is interesting about this novel is the way that the father is shown to have a number of dreams as he continues of his desperate and slow journey towards the coast with his son. Perhaps that is...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2013 5:25 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

Why does Cormac McCarthy not add punctuation and other grammatical structures in "The Road"?

By not including punctuation and other grammatical structures, Cormac McCarthy creates a narrative that is starkly bare, stripped to nothingness like the novel's setting. By choosing this style...

Latest answer posted September 19, 2008 6:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

What are some examples of figurative language in The Road by Cormac McCarthy?

Figurative language is anything that extends beyond strictly literal uses of words. This encompasses literary devices such as simile, metaphor, personification, and idioms, but is not limited to...

Latest answer posted August 19, 2019 2:33 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Road

What are the key moments in The Road by Cormac McCarthy that illustrate its literary genre?

Cormac McCarthy does not pretend that The Road and its themes are unique. The essence of the storyline, the aftermath of an event so horrific that life is reduced to nothing more than survival,...

Latest answer posted October 15, 2013 6:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

Please explain the following dream from the book The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  The Man just had a dream in which...

Dreams are largely open to interpretation, and the fact that this dream is embedded into a piece of fiction makes its interpretation even more debatable. One reading of this dream lies in the core...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2020 4:34 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

In the book The Road by Cormac McCarthy, there is a paragraph about a dog following the man and boy; oddly, it is the...

The post-apocalyptic narrative of The Road portrays a bleak world, indeed, in which the man and the boy struggle to stay alive only because of an instinctive drive to do so. This paragraph in the...

Latest answer posted July 22, 2013 2:27 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

On this road there are no godspoke men....what did he mean? In the book, The Road by Cormac McCarthy he wrote: On...

I believe that this line means that there are no external moral compasses influencing the remaining people who have survived the apocalyptic event. Men and women have been left to decide what is...

Latest answer posted August 1, 2012 7:17 pm UTC

5 educator answers

The Road

How does the boy change throughout The Road?

The boy in the story The Road has to mature quickly. This is a common theme in post-apocalyptic stories: naive and youthful characters need to grow and become tough very quickly, much more quickly...

Latest answer posted November 20, 2019 7:43 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Road

In Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, why do you think McCarthy has chosen not to give his characters names?  

Several reasons suggest themselves for Cormac McCarthy’s decision not to give names to the characters in his novel The Road. Among those reasons are the following: Leaving the characters unnamed...

Latest answer posted September 3, 2011 5:59 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

Why do you think McCarthy ends the novel with the image of trout in mountain streams before the end of the world?...

Another perspective on this is that McCarthy is, in a way, reminding mankind of its place in the world. It is only a small part of the life that exists, yet in The Road, it has seemingly done...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2019 8:45 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

How is McCarthy able to make the postapocalyptic world of "The Road" seem so real and utterly terrifing? Which...

The question of McCarthy’s world in "The Road" being both real and terrifying is something of a paradox, but this is what McCarthy presents us with in his portrayal of a diligent father caring for...

Latest answer posted October 31, 2017 7:57 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

In what ways is the road an important symbol in the novel The Road by Cormac McCarthy? What can the road represent?

The road, as the novel's title indicates, is the most important symbol in the book. It represents the journey through life, which is sought with peril and ends inevitably in death. The point of the...

Latest answer posted August 28, 2019 12:52 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Road

Why doesn't The Road by Cormac McCarthy have a typical structure with a beginning, middle and end?

The novel The Road begins in medias res, which is a Latin phrase for "in the middle of things." The reader is thrown into the story much like the characters who fight for survival. A traditional...

Latest answer posted March 26, 2010 10:36 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy: pages 1-150. List 5 quotes from the book. Explain what the quotation means, what is...

1. Quote: "What would you do if I died?" Here, the boy is thinking of death as he ponders his situation with his father in this post-apocalyptic setting. The boy is concerned with life and death...

Latest answer posted May 27, 2013 2:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

No Names in "The Road"? Why? Why did McCarthy choose not to give his characters names?

There is much uncertainty in McCarthy's The Road. The cause of the post-apocalyptic world in which our characters try to survive is never revealed nor are the characters' names or much of their...

Latest answer posted October 9, 2017 12:45 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Road

In The Road, in a flashback, the wife is looking out the window to witness fire when the husband starts running bath...

That is a good question, especially because the movie does not really give an explanation. I think that there are two explanations for this. First, as you say, they see fire. This is probably the...

Latest answer posted January 1, 2010 4:46 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

The Road The sardonic blind man named Ely who the man and boy encounter on the road tells the father that, "There is...

Prophets bring a message to the world. Ely is telling them that they are all the messengers that there is no God. Willing or not, aware or not, that the characters of the book spread the message...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2010 10:33 am UTC

4 educator answers

The Road

In "The Road" what is this fire, and why is it so crucial that they not let it die?   As the father is dying, he...

The Road is so full of heartbreaking images, the father and son have nothing but each other and the few shared terms that help the son understand the dystopian nightmare in which they live. For...

Latest answer posted June 11, 2009 7:09 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

Why does the father throw out the mother's picture while traveling on the road?  

mstultz72's reply is very good. I would like to build on it by pointing out something in that passage from the novel. The father is indeed shedding everything from his past that is irrelevant in...

Latest answer posted November 6, 2010 6:46 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, what makes the relationship between the boy and his father so powerful and...

The father and son's love for each other makes the relationship poignant because they live in such a harsh world. Their caring relationship is set in stark contrast to the cannibalizing brutality...

Latest answer posted January 16, 2018 2:10 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

What is Ely talking about in this quote from The Road, page 168? "People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I...

Most of this particular book is a very sad, depressing, and bleak outlook on the future. Many books and authors try to give readers a bleak post-apocalyptic world, but The Road takes the genre to...

Latest answer posted June 21, 2018 7:40 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

How do different types of conflict in The Road impact characterization, plot development or theme?

Cormac McCarthy's The Road depicts a father and son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The nature of this world means that our main characters face many conflicts and tensions between...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2017 2:37 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

What are the themes of The Road?

The Road is a dystopian novel that focuses on how one boy survives in a post-apocalyptic world. The story is set within a broader consideration of survival in challenging circumstances, which...

Latest answer posted December 7, 2020 6:15 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

What are the major motifs in the novel The Road?  

Many of the themes of this novel have a dual meaning: they emerge from the novel's setting, but also symbolically illustrate the novel's deeper significance. The landscape that the Man and Boy are...

Latest answer posted October 8, 2016 7:24 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

In book, The Road,  by Cormac McCarthy, what is the significance of the road? 

In McCarthy's novel, the road itself can be interpreted as either a hopeful and life-affirming symbol or a dark, nihilistic symbol. The ambiguity surrounding the meaning of the main characters'...

Latest answer posted June 16, 2018 11:53 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Road

"I think maybe they are watching, he said. They are watching for a thing that even death cannot undo and if they do...

In The Road, the man and his son have many awful experiences, despite the man's best efforts to protect his son. There is quite a philosophical edge to the man's words when he refers to them...

Latest answer posted April 19, 2013 6:12 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

What does The Road ultimately suggest about good and evil?

It is interesting that in a number of Cormac McCarthy's other books, evil is shown to eventually triumph in the way that characters who are linked with goodness fall in the wake of the evil...

Latest answer posted March 9, 2013 6:40 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

What is the significance of dreams and flashbacks about the woman in Cormac McCarthy's The Road?  

In the post-apocalyptic world depicted in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, pleasant memories of dead loved ones are a luxury this story's protagonist, the man, can ill-afford. McCarthy's depiction of a...

Latest answer posted March 19, 2017 2:12 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

What are some key passages in The Road by Cormac McCarthy that indicate the theme of journey?

The physical road itself is a good symbol for the journey theme. The Man and The Boy are both using the road to get to their destination. They are heading toward the ocean. They get sidetracked...

Latest answer posted July 26, 2018 2:59 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

In The Road, what would be a good quote referring to the theme of innocence?  

Innocence as a theme is clearly related to the character of the son, who, no matter how devastating the world around him, continues to cling on to some sort of moral code where he believes, or...

Latest answer posted March 9, 2013 6:30 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

why in the road there is no name for every character and only coca cola the things that showed on that novel   Please...

Do you think that McCarthy may be suggesting another suggestion of universality with Coca-Cola which is sold throughout the world? This product, then, accompanies the concept of the "Everymen"...

Latest answer posted December 21, 2010 12:11 am UTC

6 educator answers

The Road

What is the internal conflict that the father faces in The Road and how is this conflict resolved?

This is an interesting question because I believe that most readers don't consider the internal conflicts present in this book as immediately pressing as the external conflicts. At its core, the...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2018 4:46 am UTC

3 educator answers

The Road

What would be good essay topics for "The Road"? Cormac McCarthy's "The Road"

Certainly, there are several approaches to an analysis of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." While many see the Southern Gothic of William Faulkner and the Naturalism of such writers as Jack London and...

Latest answer posted November 26, 2009 10:24 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

In the novel The Road, what does the coast represent physically and literally for the man and his son?

The coast represents the end of the road literally and also the physical end of the man. By bringing his son to the coast, he saves him by delivering him to other people who will presumably protect...

Latest answer posted August 30, 2018 5:57 pm UTC

3 educator answers

The Road

In The Road, what quote shows that trust is the main reason why the boy and the man have survived for so long?

The theme of trust is definitely present in this visceral novel. Whether or not it is the main contributing factor to the survival of the man and the boy is up to individual readers. The following...

Latest answer posted June 23, 2019 12:59 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

Refer to this quote from "The Road": "Do you think that your fathers are watching? That they weigh you in their...

Is The Road, a man and his son spend their time moving around, trying to survive and to stay safe from "bad" guys who would not think twice about murdering them and eating them. They are being...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2013 6:21 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

What is special about the narrative structure in Cormac McCarthy's "The Road"?

The definition of narrative structure varies a little bit from source to source, so the following definition should be treated as a working definition. Narrative structure is the framework that...

Latest answer posted February 21, 2019 9:24 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Road

How is the writing in "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy in some ways more like poetry than narrative prose? Cormac...

The reasons that you stated above in your question partially answer the question itself; McCarthy has a very unique feel to his writing, and he does jump in and out of dreaming and reality within a...

Latest answer posted June 1, 2009 3:07 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

In The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, what has worn the road about the same (line 10)?

In The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, the narrator is pondering which path is the best one to take as the road forks and he is really not sure which way will take him to where he wants to go. It...

Latest answer posted September 18, 2015 5:27 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Road

In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, name an object that stands out to you as being extremely important to the development...

In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the boy and his father struggle to survive in a desolate world. This is the only life the boy has known, but his father recalls a normal childhood, a better life,...

Latest answer posted July 29, 2015 5:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

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