What is is that is so special about the book?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The end of the world is a scary concept.  Imagine the life you have led, the people you have loved, the associations you have made gone in an instant.  It is a terrifying condition that strikes at our most basic fear: Through no fault of our own, our existence can be transformed in an instant.  What we know is gone and what is there we cannot begin to know.

What makes McCarthy's work so special is that it takes this horrifying aspect and humanizes it with the relationship between the boy and the father. Even in an apocalyptic condition where rape and cannibalism reign supreme, McCarthy's work reminds us that we are what we love. Our world may change and existence as we know it may be transformed.  Yet, the sensibilities that compel us to love will always be there and if we have the courage to act upon it and live out the idea that we are what we love, there is something for which to live. McCarthy's work depicts a world in which there is so little to sustain life.  However, in seeing the boy and his father, we are immediately reminded that even when all else is gone, should we have the courage to do so, we can find so much in the world that is worthy of life.  I think that this has to be a part of the reason why the book is so special and so revered.

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The Road

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