Why do you think McCarthy ends the novel with the image of trout in mountain streams before the end of the world:"In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they gummed...

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

"In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they gummed of mystery". What is surprising about this ending? Does it provide closure or does it promt a rethinking of all that has come before? what does it suggest about what lies ahead?

Asked on by moll2293

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sdeadder | (Level 1) eNoter

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Full Quote: “Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains.  You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow.  They smelled of moss in your hand.  Polished and muscular and torsional.  On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming.  Maps and mazes.  Of a thing which could not be put back.  Not be made right again.  In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”

I think this epilogue of sorts speaks to the mystery of earth’s creation and our place in it.  Whether you believe in evolution or divine creation, we all wonder why we are here.  It is an age old question that has been asked by all sentient beings.  It is a mystery that seems to live in all that is around us.  The fish, the trees, all of nature which seems so perfect.  How did it become so?  Still, there is little question that life cannot survive an ecological disaster of the magnitude seen throughout this book.  It was “a thing that could not be put back.  Not be made right again.”  Without the beauty of nature and the resources it provides us to live, perhaps we would stop wondering about our purpose.  We would simply fight to survive the best we could and the mystery that existed before would die out.  During the book you see the utter hopelessness of the situation.  You hope that the father and his son will discover life once they reach the sea, but in the back of your mind, you don’t expect it to happen.  Sadly, I think this epilogue does not provide much optimism for the human race.  I think McCarthy is trying to say that we should value the luxuries that nature provides us, including the luxury of reflection on our very existence.

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