The Road Essential Quotes by Theme: Hope

Cormac McCarthy

Essential Quotes by Theme: Hope

Essential Passage 1

He woke before dawn and watched the gray day break. Slow and half opaque. He rose while the boy slept and pulled on his shoes and wrapped in his blanket he walked out through the trees. He descended into a gryke in the stone and there he crouched coughing and he coughed for a long time. Then he just knelt in the ashes. He raises his face to the paling day. Are you there? he whispered. Will I see you at the last? Have a neck by which to throttle you? Have you a heart? Damn you eternally have you a soul? Oh God, he whispered. Oh God.

Summary
The man and his boy have stopped on their travels for the night, taking refuge in a rocky area, protected from the rain. The rain does not clean away the ashes that cover everything, killing everything and destroying the food supply (except for human beings). The man feels his sole purpose in life is to keep his boy alive and free from the taint of the savagery that has descended on humanity. Yet he knows he cannot do this forever. He is becoming ill, an ever-increasing cough slowly draining his strength. To keep from waking his son, he goes down into a gryke (a fissure in the rock) to cough and cough to clear it all away, but he cannot. He questions whether or not he will survive the night. He calls out to God, not for help but in defiance and bitterness. God has let him down. God has let humanity down.

Essential Passage 2

I can't do it alone.

Then don't. I can't help you. They say that women dream of danger to those in their care and men of danger to themselves. But I don't dream at all. You say you can't? Then don't do it. That’s all. Because I am done with my own whorish heart and I have been for a long time. You talk about taking a stand but there is not stand to take. My heart was ripped out of me the night he was born so don't ask for sorrow now. There is none. Maybe you’ll be good at this. I doubt it, but who knows. Then one thing I can tell you is that you wont survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together some passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body. As for me my only hope is for eternal nothingness and I hope it with all my heart.

Summary
The man flashes back to a time when his wife was still alive. She has told him that she has decided she cannot fight any longer and will commit suicide. He begs her not to, stating that he cannot go on alone. She sees no point in going on anyway, so is indifferent to his pleas. Death is certain in a world with no food supply and the increasing danger of humans preying on humans. There is no reason to go on, no hope. She realizes this when her son was born into this new world in which he is only to die. She points out to her husband that he will not survive either and has made it this long only because he has someone to live for. Eventually he will have no one, and there will be no purpose to life. She hopes to die and find, not peace, but nothingness. There is no peace. There is only oblivion to all feeling and emotion.

Essential Passage 3

How do I know you’re one of the good guys?

You don't. You’ll have to take a shot.

Are you carrying the fire?

Am I what?

Carrying the fire.

You’re kind of weirded out, aren't you?

No.

...

(The entire section is 1513 words.)