What are some statements related to themes in The Road by Cormac McCarthy?

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The Road depicts a post-apocalyptic world without giving the details of what kind of apocalypse occurred, or how it happened, or why. In this way, one major theme that emerges from this novel is that human nature in the face of adversity is fairly consistent, regardless of the cause or...

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The Road depicts a post-apocalyptic world without giving the details of what kind of apocalypse occurred, or how it happened, or why. In this way, one major theme that emerges from this novel is that human nature in the face of adversity is fairly consistent, regardless of the cause or characteristics of that adversity. There are a few examples that illustrate this. For example, the very title refers to the theme of movement, and to the idea that life is a journey. Cormac suggests that, even in the face of extreme hardship, it is human nature to keep moving forward, whether symbolically (by being strong and resilient, and maintaining hope for the future) or physically (moving to a physical destination). Human nature in the face of the challenges in this post-apocalyptic world seems to also be related to a person's inherent personality or values: some people are selfish and cruel, and others are kind and compassionate.

But there is also a suggestion that one's inherent nature can shift in the face of difficulty. Even as The Man struggles to care for his son with kindness and courage, he is moved to become as ruthless and mercenary as the people he meets along the way. In order to survive, he must begin to think more like they do. He even becomes cruel: humiliating the thief who tries to take their food, and leaving him helpless, instead of offering to share.

Cormac invites the reader to ponder this central question: are human beings able to hold onto their inherent nature through all struggles, or does their nature shift to accommodate circumstance? This suggests a theme of adaptation and survival. That theme relates to an unspoken question: what will be the future of this world where food and creature comforts have become so scarce? Will humans be able to adapt to living in it?

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