What do you think McCarthy is saying about humanity in The Road?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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McCarthy is offering a vision of humanity that shows that the most tender of emotions can exist in the worst of settings.  The Post- apocalyptic vision that McCarthy renders is one in which human sentiment has been ripped apart.  Survival is all that matters.  In this condition where human emotions are not valued, McCarthy shows the love the father has for his son and the reverence the son has for his father.  Through this, McCarthy is saying that the most tender of emotions and the most redemptive of human qualities can be evident even in the worst of circumstances.  It is implied that humanity is responsible for the post- apocalyptic setting in which the father and son find themselves.  At the same time, it is humanity that is responsible for the murdering and pillaging that is taking place, as well as the lack of validation for human life in this setting.  Yet, it is also humanity that can develop the most tender of bonds between one another.  It is human beings that can demonstrate the most selfless of love as seen between father and son.  It is here where the most profound statement on humanity is evident in McCarthy's work.  While capable of the very worst,  human beings can display some of the most redemptive elements.

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