Write a journal entry for the novel up to page 25.

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It looks like you have been tasked with writing journal entries for Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Based on your question, this journal entry should be based on the first 25 pages of the book.

First, your journal entries will reveal how the story has resonated with you so...

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It looks like you have been tasked with writing journal entries for Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Based on your question, this journal entry should be based on the first 25 pages of the book.

First, your journal entries will reveal how the story has resonated with you so far. Try including your thoughts about the main themes, the structure of the story, and the use of literary devices (characterization, figurative language, imagery, etc.). If your teacher has a list of elements they would like to see in your entries, be sure to include them. Be aware, however, that Cormac McCarthy is well known for his habit of writing dialogue without quotation marks. He uses few, if any, semi-colons in his writing and is notorious for run-on sentences.

Each journal entry should also be dated, and you may choose to only discuss a few pages at a time in any one entry. Take, for example, a journal entry for the first 3 pages:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (pages 3–5) December 5th, 2018

I have just finished reading the first three pages of The Road. In all, I feel unsettled by them. The unnamed narrator and his son (I presume) appear to be navigating dangerous terrain. McCarthy's dialogue has a stream-of-consciousness feel to it. None of the grammar conventions are in place. Spoken dialogues aren't punctuated with quotation marks, and run-on sentences seem to be the order of the day. The run-on sentences give the impression of events moving too fast for the narrator's liking. He is shell-shocked, and there seems to be no end to the horrors he has to face.

So, the above is an example of a journal entry. You may have anywhere from 6–8 entries altogether. Here are some other elements to consider for your entries:

1) How does McCarthy's use of punctuated short sentences, such as "Barren, silent, godless," contribute to the mood of the story? The narrative highlights a prevailing, stark hopelessness. We get the idea that the narrator's fear is palpable, but for his son's sake, he must do everything he can to rein in his feelings of dread and apprehension.

2) Does the inner dialogue advance the plot? What do you learn about the plot from the narrator's disjointed inner dialogue? Why does McCarthy refrain from punctuating spoken dialogue? Here, you may decide to discuss the post-apocalyptic setting of the novel and how this is reflected in the dialogue and imagery of the first 25 pages.

Take, for example, McCarthy's description of the gas station. Tools and items sit silently. There is dust and ash everywhere. Surprisingly, the narrator picks up the dusty phone and dials the number of his father's house. Is the narrator's behavior a desperate means of holding on to a lost past? We are inspired to ask the same question the son asks the father: "What are you doing?"

3) What does the creature in the dream symbolize? Is McCarthy's use of unique similes to describe the creature significant?

4) How does McCarthy characterize the narrator and his son? Does McCarthy use direct characterization at all, or does he mainly utilize indirect characterization? What do we learn about the narrator and his son through indirect characterization? Explore themes of loyalty, courage, and hope.

Hope this helps!

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