...wished them godspeed till they were gone. He never heard them again.
The Man often thought about that day. It was the last day he remembered hope. He never told the Boy about the birds for the fear he might be even more disappointed with the everygrey world. Where did the birds go? Where they even there in the first place or did he just imagine them. He thought the birds must be with the Woman. Somewhere warm and peaceful. Or was he wrong? He didn’t know what to think. He wished the birds were a message from God. Something to tell them they were all right, that everything would one day be good. If the birds could survive that far so could they. Yet they hadn’t seen a bird since. He thought their raspy calls could be the Woman calling out to them. But he never heard that sound anymore so was it just goodbye? If God was really there why would he taunt them like this, thought the man. He liked to sit and think about it but he couldn’t think too hard as to alarm the boy. The birds were just the fingertips of God dragging all the color out of the sky as he waved so long for the last time.
In this scene you get to see a hidden, deeper side of the Man. You can see emotions and deep thought from him and his curiosity with religion. I chose to place this piece in this section of the book because symbolism in this book was huge and when I read about the birds flying over and the man never seeing them again it made me think about how birds were literally the highest beings as they could fly, they were closest to God. That made me think that the birds represented God’s presence, or anti-presence in the book. I chose the theme of God and religion because I wanted to hint at the question that I asked myself the most while reading this book. “Why are they still going?” I wanted to see inside of the Man’s head and see how he felt about this hard journey and if there was still positivity in his head. I think that religion was a quiet but pushing force in why the Man tried so hard to keep himself and the Boy alive. I had the Man reflect on this experience because I wanted to leave the readers with something to think about for the rest of the book because McCarthy never really addresses this subject again and I think it is more helpful to understand some of the Man’s future decisions in the book. Another question to me was “Is there a God?” referring to the Man. So I wanted to answer that so that the reader could get a good look into the Man and his past personality. In my creative piece I used the word “evergrey” as a touch to their surroundings. They are in the woods, surrounded by trees that used to be green but are no longer. Now everything is dull and grey so instead of “evergreen” like an evergreen tree I changed it to evergrey as a sense that the world around them and likely never changing, as evergreen trees are always green. The reason I chose this passage to be about the man is because The man is the one who speculates the most about God in the book so I think it is appropriate that these be his thoughts.
The Passage that I have created below is a passage that I have written and feel that could have partook a role in the plot of this book. It examines the man and the boy talking briefly about the mother, but it dives more into the symbolism of her leaving them, and
The man was beginning to drift off to rest.
What was she like?
The man was silent.
Why do you ask?
I heard you mutter her name when you were resting.
Go to sleep.
The man woke up before the boy. He salvaged what was left of the fire to prepare their breakfast. The boys eyes creaked open only to find the somber beach he drifted off on.
You never answered my question.
The man handed the boy the boy his meal. Here eat this.
The boy stood up frustrated. He slapped the food out of his hand. Why won’t you tell me?!
Damnit. The man shouted. You really want to know about her!?
Yes. Shouted the boy.
She was a quitter! She left us for dead. There are two kinds of people in this ashen world we live in. There are the people that have hope and don’t.
There are people that aren’t afraid to fight for what you have. Those people are the ones that make it. All you are is a hopeless wanderer trapped in the obscurity of the never ending grey shadow of the bezaleel. Do you understand what I am saying?
What I am trying to say is never give up. You’re the last of all our hope. Always carry the fire. You’re the last of the good guys.
What about you Papa?
Are you a good guy?
I don't know.
So, what I decided to address the theme in this book of “Good Guys, and Bad Guys” and the idea of “not giving up. I chose to address the idea of good guys and bad guys specifically because I felt like I would be able to achieve that from the scene where the man remembers when he was dreaming about his wife. This scene stuck out to me because I wanted to write more about the man’s wife just because I felt like she wasn’t mentioned enough in the book, but I chose this one specifically because it was closer to the end, and there had been more controversy that had occurred in the book, and the father had built up a relationship more with his son that the reader would be able to see and understand some of the references that I made in the passage. The scene from the book that I wrote about was right after the scene of the boy and the man on the beach and the boy had gone swimming. He comes out and they are sitting by the fire. This scene was supposed to be a “don’t poke the bear” scene. For the majority of the book, the father had managed to keep his cool with the boy, but in this one I wanted it to show another side to the man. The boy asked his father a couple of questions about his mom, and the man sent him signals not to ask, but the boy still asked.
I chose several motifs to represent this book, in my passage because the book itself is filled with them and there are so many juicy ones that you could choose from and honestly I couldn’t decide between them. Since this scene is happening between the father and the son, I wanted to use the motif “Okay” because that is a common word that is used a ton between the two of them when there is simply nothing else to say in conversation. They have become numb. “Okay” is symbolic of how they communicate. Another motif that I choose to write about was the one that was addressing the greyness that surrounds them. Mccarthy throughout the whole book is always addressing how neutral and gloomy the world is, and so I thought it couldn’t be a real scene from the book, if there was no “grey” reference. And in all of this grey, there was the fire which is supposed to be symbolic of hope. This is what the boy is supposed to be carrying inside his heart, and he should never let it sizzle out (words from his father)There was one word that I specifically chose to use which was “bezaleel”. This word means chief architect of the tabernacle. I worded this sentence as another motif/theme to make reader question if there truly was a God not in our world, but their world. Since the reader is following the mand and the boy through the book, we tend to take their side. The man has lost his fire or hope in all religion whatsoever and he is not going to let the boy lose his fire in hope for survival.
He let the boy go as this was the last time he would see or touch him. He watched them walk away until the light no longer lit their way. Darkness absorbed them. The man sat and wept until he he had nothing left. He drifted in and out of sleep until morning, when he knew he had to get up and get moving.
He packed everything, put it all in his bag, and started on his way. The man slowly sauntered down the cold and bare dark road. There was a noise coming from up the road. It sounded like a little boy. His little boy. The man didn’t have much energy but he used all that was in him to run towards the sound. There was laughing, and the sound of joyfulness, he could hear it in the distance.
Papa, come here!
The sound of his son's voice made him happy, he ran closer to the sound, but couldn’t find it, it sounded like it was getting further and further away. The happiness in his son’s voice turned into sadness, then to the faint sound of a cry. He finally came upon something, something that was not the boy. It was something he almost recognized. In the man's fugue state he saw the boy’s mother as a chimera, more charybdis than woman.
The man woke with tears streaming down his face, his heart beating fast, and his son calling him to get up.
The character I wanted to mainly focus on in my creative piece was the man and how it would be for him to be without his son. I think the only reason the man tries everyday is so that he can be there for the little boy and help him so that he can survive. When I was deciding what I would make happen to the boy I remembered that his mother did mention taking him at one point in the story in a memory that the man has. I felt that if I had the boys mom take the boy it would make it more interesting than him dying. When thinking of a place to put this I decided I wanted to put it in the part of the book where the little boy is sick. I did this because I knew that the would be worrying about his son, and he would always be thinking about it, even subconsciously. The McCarthy-esque word that I decided to use was Chimera. This word means something that can be hoped for or not, but it happens many times in dreams because it is often times a fantasy that we have. I thought this was very fitting for the situation since this was a dream and he really wanted to see his son again.When picking a theme for my creative piece, I chose family and loneliness. I wanted to pick them because the boy is his son, and without him he doesn’t really have anything to live for anymore. The man’s son was such a huge part of everything that went on in the book, I feel like family is really important. For the motifs of my added scene of the book, I chose to use fear and dreams. I chose to do a dream because we know this clearly couldn’t have really happened or the story would have been totally different, and also because I wanted to show the fear he would have without having his son and then get to wake up and realize it was just a dream. I chose fear and survival because I wanted to show the fear he has without his son. Lastly, my essential question was very obvious for me after I finished everything else. I did “who/what do we live for? What if it is gone?” the boy was taken from the man and it clearly really hurt him. I wanted to use this question because I feel like it is really interesting and really important as well. It is important in this book and it also really applies to real life which made it even more interesting to me. I think that a lot of the things that I did for my story seemed to fall into place perfectly to create something I am proud of.
The man put the boy down as they got closer to the road. The boy started walking quietly in front leaving the man to pull the cart. He came upon the river again. He heard the man calling to him and turned around. The man was falling far behind. He kneeled next to the river while he waited and stared into the darkening water. Tears started to run down his face and he sat down by the bank. The boy pulled the mask from his face. He cupped it in his hands and splashed himself with water. It was cold and tasted of ash. The boys tears flowed harder at the feeling of it. He closed his eyes.
Humming came from the cleanroom when he woke up. The boy stood and let it guide him through the darkness. She kneeled over the onceadayer washing her face and turned to look at him.
What are you singing?
Thats not nothing.
Its a song I use to sing to you when you were a baby.
To make you happy.
The boy sat next to her.
You dont sing.
She wet her face once more.
Whyd you do it again?
Im just tired. Needed to tell myself to wake up.
Because you need to do that sometimes when you feel bad.
Does papa do it?
I dont know.
Go back to sleep. She hugged him to her heart and kissed his head. He went back to bed as she turned and wet her face once more.
In this scene the boy’s point of view is put into perspective, something that only occurs once the man is gone. After the boy and the man see the nearly eaten infant, the boy has a moment to himself (McCarthy 198). The boy starts to lead, almost leaving the man completely behind causing foreshadowing of later events. He stops at the river and waits for the man to catch up. Water’s role in The Road has represented cleanliness and purification. With this the boy washes his face with it, only to find it tainted with the world around him. Face washing is commonly associated with times of hardship to wash off the toxins and impurities. As he does, a memory of his mother comes into view.
The boy has a rare scene with his mother. She and the boy have never had any type of interaction throughout the book, setting this as a good moment for her to unknowingly teach him something. She is in the “cleanroom” (the bathroom), but there is no reason to go in there other than to use the “onceadayer”, the bathtub filled with clean water. This was decided due to the fact that water is precious and should be preserved for when it is needed. She is humming a song that she sung to him as a baby. She explains that she sung for the happiness of the boy, posing the question of the worth of survival without happiness and the ability to cleanse your mind of doubt. Referring back to infant scene, it is apparent that people in the new world do not care for their children, deeming them a burden and deciding to use them for food. This memory allows him to see a glimpse of the world he never knew through his mother's mild affection. Not only does he learn of his mother's affection and the old world, but he learns of her unhappiness. She tells him that she washes her face to wake up as though the clean water will cure her weariness. The water also brings her joy, represented by her singing. The boy says, “You dont sing.” showing that this is not something she finds the strength and happiness to do often, confirmed by her mentioning that she sung only when he was younger. The saying, “Wash away your sorrows,” comes into play often when rereading this scene. The boy learns of a way to cope with the world around him from his mother, though he leaves her behind to completely wash away her sorrows knowing to give her space to regain her happiness in this fleeting world.
The newscaster spoke in a voice of deep concern and sincerity as if he were your a part of my family and at that moment it seemed like everyone was. It was a lie though. Not intentional, but subconscious. Everyone would turn at a moment’s notice on others, but no one realized it in the moment other than the man. The man was always suspicious of others, but his paranoia peaked with the arrival of the apocalypse.
Because of the current falling ash, the young and elderly are advised to stay inside. It is estimated that millions will die from the effects of the ash. Some people have decided not to take the advice and are out on the road traveling towards the coast. Since gas prices have soared all are expected to do so by foot.
While the man is watching the wife comes in the room.
We have to have a plan.
When everyone turns on each other.
That won’t happen we just need to stay inside.
It will. In a few months or so when they realize the road isn’t safe.
The unwantedlyrecent ash built higher and higher as the weeks turned to months. The situation only worsened. The news now reported an estimated thirty percent of the country dead and no stop in sight. To the man, it was evident from the beginning he would have to adapt to the new lifestyle and his paranoia was key to the family’s safety.
I chose to place this section to when the man was talking to Eli because the man was trying to get some answers just like the reader was to all of the ambiguities surrounding how they were in this current situation. I put it in specifically where the man asked what happened to the world, “The man said, ‘Tell us where the world went.’ Eli replied, ‘What?’” (166) A flashback was the most appropriate way to give a sense of exactly how the situation developed into what it is up to when the man asks Eli. One of the big ideas that I wanted to get across by writing this section is giving an answers as to what exactly happened before to cause all of this. I found it important to say what happened to the people, exactly what they tried to do, and where they tried to go. I actually ended up avoiding answering one of my main essential questions which was, “What exactly caused the apocalypse?” I found it difficult to choose between a volcanic eruption and nuclear explosion, but I saw that the reason that McCarthy does not say what happened is probably because it does not matter. The point of keeping the apocalypse ambiguous was to instill a kind of fear in the reader that makes them think it could be anything that caused the apocalypse and that frankly it does not matter how the apocalypse started, but only the result.
I wanted their to be some sort of characterization in the man that tied in with the theme of paranoia and explains where it came from since there is not much about his behavior before the apocalypse. I made him paranoid because it fit in to say that his paranoia during the course of the novel was heightened by the advent of the apocalypse. Similar to giving some kind of backstory as to why he is how he now, I also wanted to address how ash is seen as a symbol of desolation and death. I include the ash in a way that makes its appearance and abundance correlate to the severity of the situation and the death toll.My McCarthy-esque word is “unwantedlyrecent”. The word fits in with one of the themes which is that all of the things the man tries to forget are the ones he remembers the most. The fact that all of the events are actually recent and currently taking place to when he is reflecting on them during the flashback serves to emphasize why he is so paranoid and the word makes it clear that he struggles to put these memories in the back of his mind.
After another quarter of work, I learned more by studying other people’s work in multiple mediums to gain inspiration for my own. My interests are rooted deeply in artists my age and I pulled much of my inspiration from those that I follow on Instagram and Twitter. I enjoyed going to an abstract place with a few of my pieces and not worrying so much about producing something that looked the way I originally intended, but about producing something that I enjoyed creating. Earlier in the quarter, I realized that my meticulousness was holding me back and towards the end, my more abstract pieces bring back feelings of accomplishment. This quarter in art, we worked on a variety of mediums and got to dabble in our own personal style even more. The first project in my slide, drawing fabric, was one of my favorite. I got experiment with lines and shape and shadowing, which is one of my biggest difficulties. I made sure I used different types of pictures for these as fabric has a very specific shape depending on how it's held or laid and is really fun to experiment with.
My second piece, the photo editing, was also fun as one of my first loves is photography. I used a picture that I took using 35mm film a couple summers ago and did some color correction; I'm not a huge fan of filters because i think, unless it's a filter you created, they can add too much drama to something really nice. My third piece is the illustration. For this, I designed a cover for one of my favorite albums by one of my favorite bands, The Internet. Their ego death album speaks on relationship troubles, societal issues, and pop culture. I listened to it over and over to give myself ample inspiration. I wish that I had colored pencils in my house because I'd add a yellow background to make the other colors pop. In all, I enjoyed creating this quarter and I'm excited for next quarter's assignments.
This chapter really made me think more into detail about cyberbullying because I’ve definitely heard that it was and still is a thing that those who use social media go through every now and then. But actually mentally hearing a real story about someone’s experience really increases my interest in this topic. In the beginning of this chapter it told a story in an interviewer’s eye and him interviewing this girl named Abigail and she was talking about her family and her sister, Ashley. And how even if Ashley was Abigail’s sister, it didn’t stop her from wanting to say bad stuff about her with her friends through social media. It would already been bad that she was talking about someone else through the internet, but the fact that it was her own sister. That she has grown up with, live with, and basically do everything with is just messed up. I think that she just feels the need to get attention. When I hear about people online making a big conflict through social media, it’s mostly for attention. And that person probably knows that saying things online makes it easier for word to get around and for more people to hear. Rather than saying something bad about someone in real life when not a lot of people would hear or care. Attention to me, is what most teenage girls want especially when they’re coming into high school. Probably because it’s a different environment and they feel the need to act a certain way to be “cool.”
I think that if I were Abigail, I would feel really hurt and confused to why my own sister is saying bad things about me when I did absolutely nothing to trigger it. And the fact that she could just pretend that she didn’t do anything and see her every single day. Along with the idea of my sister saying bad things about me, the whole school would be saying bad things about me. People would assume and believe anything these days that they see. They feel the need to be pressured to know what other people know, and believe what other people believe. It’s all apart of pure pressure through other people and social media as well. Like if you’re trying to follow the latest trend, or you saw someone wear plaid and you do the same. Or you want to be like that popular girl who wears lip gloss with all the popular kids. Especially kids in their early teenage years, they start to go through puberty and they start to mentally change their mindset on things.And in the story, the fact that Ashley did these things, and Abigail saying that she might be doing these things because the way her mom treats her. Like bringing family problems, and sometimes the family is what encouraging kids to start things on the internet because they feel the need to get it all out. But honestly don’t think that it is a good idea because even if you’re hurting doesn’t mean you should hurt other people. I can connect with the feeling of feeling really upset or angry at something and I automatically want someone to feel and think what I’m doing because I don’t wanna be the only one. But I think kids like that should think before posting stuff. I know that Abigail says that Ashley doesn’t actually know when she’s hurting someone, that’s an issue within itself. To not consider other people’s feelings when it comes to insulting them.
Everyone will be satisfied when everything comes to an end. Trust me, no one would rather be in this hell of a world. I mean, unless it’s someone like you.
Me? I don’t like-
I know. But you chose to be in it because of him. I don’t blame you.
You would do the same, wouldn’t you?
The old man stays in silence as he stares at the fire.
You don’t know anything.
The old man picked up the little twig from the ground and threw it in the fire.
You had one?
Billy. My happiness only lasted 7 years. Never saw him since then.
The man took a stare at his sleeping son, and turned back to look at the fire as it intensified.
There was barely enough bread for us three. I suffered an accident, and was unable to work. I preferred that he ate.
The old man stood in silence while he threw another twig at the fire.
She didn’t want our angel to live the same fateism. Selfishly, she took my heart with him to the adoption center. She never told me where but rather why.
I’m pretty sure he’s an angel. Angels keep going forever.
You’re right. Just remember. Your hope is just like this fire. You have to feed it twigs. If it’s small, it will not warmth you. If it’s big, you’ll have enough to warmth others.
And how’s your fire?
Right now I have ashes. But I rather have my ashes than none at all.
One of the characters that made me curious ever since I finished The Road was definitely the old man. We knew him as Ely. One of my favorite parts of the book was when he felt vulnerable when he saw the boy. It made realize that he still had a paternal instinct. Which made me conclude that he might’ve been a father at a time. Even though he didn’t quite share his story with the man, I knew that his story was time worthy, which is why I wanted to explore that part of the book.
I guided myself from Ely’s paternal instinct. That made me decide how and why Ely’s attitude was a huge part for his character. When the papa and the boy encountered Ely, he automatically thought that they were robbers. He didn’t even try to run or fight it. Which made me realize that maybe he’s already accustomed to other people taking away what is his. That gave me the idea of the plot.
The plot consisted of the Ely, his little boy, and his wife. After suffering a tragic accident that enabled Ely to work, he could no longer support his family. It came to a part when they became extremely poor and they couldn’t support their 7 year old boy anymore. His wife then took the decision to take their son to an adoption center. The wife thought her son would be better with another family that could give him what he deserved. The wife took Ely’s son away, and he ended up regretting it forever.
During the organization of the plot, themes and motifs came naturally. One of the themes that automatically stood out to me was hope. When something you love so dearly, and it’s taken away from you, you tend to lose motivation, hope, and purpose in life. Specially if you lost it all, like in a world where there’s literally nothing left. You’ve got to work what you’ve got. Sometimes having hope is the only key for survival. But in the contrary, if you actually have something to fight for, your desire for survival should be greater than any other person. Which is why I made Ely share his story with the man. To serve as a reminder to keep going. Even if the odds seemed to be against him. The motif I chose to do was fire. They dealt with fire pretty much everyday, which is why it was a great idea to metaphorically show the importance of hope, and the way it’s maintained so it doesn’t die. Just like fire.
The segment below is what I think was cut from the beginning of, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in editing.
Why? he asked
You’ll be safe there
You don’t know that.
I grew up there. Some of my family might still be there
The man looked out the window he saw the sun faint in the distance like something that is about to go away forever. There was no clear answer to where they might go. The south is warm but the west is empty. No threat there or at least that is what he could make out. There was no direct source of news just half a paper article floating down to the darkening ground.
The boy wont last long enough to get all the way south
The boy will do as you ask, he will respond to how you treat him. So treat him harsh but explain yourself.
A sound came from outside. You say it like you wont be there. The ground shakes, the house shakes, the table shakes. Everything is still.
It is not safe here anymore. Pack your stuff we are leaving.
The two of them, man and wife, pack as much as they can into a small cart. They are quite so to not disturb the boy sleeping. Only the most important things would make the journey. Canned foods. Blankets. A tarp. A pistol.
This is my rationale for why I chose this segment for this project.
In the story The Road a man and his son walk down a long road, seemingly to nowhere, until tail end. At the end it is revealed that their plan was always to head south, but there is no explanation for why. I thought it would be helpful to the reader to have insight as to why they choose to go south. For this segment I brought in a character that was not often referenced in the book, the boy’s mother. By having the mother tell them to go south it gives a logical reason as to why they are continuing south, through this connection wouldn’t be made until later when the reader learns that the mother is dead. I chose to include the mother giving the man parenting advice to build the character of the father. It gives more personality to the parenting decisions he makes further along in the story. It was important that there still be an obvious divide between the woman, and the man and the boy. I wanted to foreshadow their relationship and hint at the boy and man being alone on the road from the very beginning.
In the story there is the lingering question of why are they on this road? My segment, placed at the beginning gives a rational end destination. It makes it logical that they would choose to go to the south even though they have no idea what is waiting for them at that destination. They travel down this long road with out question in their mind that this is the way they are supposed to be going. I thought even though the mother did not have a prominent role in the story, she would be the perfect explanation for the decision. In McCarthy’s writing there is a lack of women’s roles. Inkeeping with that I wanted to foreshadow the woman’s absence as well as have her be vague as to not contradict any other part of the story.
Lets stay here for the night, Papa
We haven’t traveled very far today
It could be dangerous
I know, Papa
We need to keep going
The man turned around to see the boy setting up the tarp. The man walked to the boy with a limp to return the tarp to the cart, the boy grabbed the tarp from out of his hands. The man coughed until he couldn’t stand, the boy made a tent from the tarp and started a fire, he covered the man in a blanket and sat down next to him.
The man sat silently and eventually fell asleep. The boy stayed for a moment before going to see what was down the road. He took the gun from the man and walked towards the Road, he saw a small town in the distance. On the way back the boy gathered some brush and wood for the fire. Out of the suffocating darkness he heard his father calling out. The boy returned, the man livid with anger. The fire slowly began to burn out.
Where did you go, where is the gun?
I have it
Why did you take it
I went to go see what was down the road, and to go get more wood for the fire
I dont want you going anywhere without me
You were sleeping
But the fire was going to go out, you would have froze
I don’t care. You cant go anywhere without me.
One of the motifs in this passage was the fire. Both the fire the man sets up at the camps, and the fire he and the boy carry within themselves. As the man gets closer to his death his fire begins to go out. He loses whatever morals he had, becomes angry and bitter. The boy goes to get more firewood, because he knows how important it is to keep the flame light. And despite any fears the boy may have, he risks going down the road on his own to keep that fire going. Throughout the book is it clear that the boy’s fire is brighter than the man’s.
In this passage I wanted to highlight the man’s protectiveness of the boy. The man wants to boy to know how to survive without him there. Yet at the same time the man doesn’t want to see the boy become independent of him, since the boy is his reason to fight to stay alive. After he see’s that the boy can take care himself the man has to grapple with the fact that the boy can survive without the man. The boy is the man’s reason for living. Knowing that the boy is at an age where he doesn’t need someone to take care of him, the man slowly loses his reason to stay alive. The man fights for their survival throughout the entire book. It is his nature to feel the need to always protect the boy, even if he doesn’t necessarily need said protection. There is a fine line between being protective of his son and being over protective, preventing his son from doing anything on his own. This could make life more difficult for the boy after the man is gone and end up hurting the boy. One of the motifs I decided to use was surviving on the road without a companion. The man worries about what the boy will be like on the road on his own. He fears that the boy will hurt himself and end up like the lightening struck man, will he lose his morals to survive, or only survive with the help from others just like Eli. This fear only makes the man more protective and unintentionally harmful to the boy.
Be aware by reading this passage you have opened your mind into what could be a parallel universe from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road ..
Holding the boy in his arms rubbing his thin black hair.
Its going to be okay.
Close your eyes and go to sleep.
Inhale. Exhale. His eyes are closed. The man lays him down. Feel the breeze that flows across his body. His dreams begin to take over his thoughts. Hear the ocean breeze that runswards the sand. A familiar voice in the distance.
Honey, come on.
You’re going to miss the kite show.
Without any words exchanged, the man walks towards her. Holding out his hand, waiting to touch hers. Twirling her around in his hands. Laughter and love fills the air. A countdown from a crowd full of people.
Eyes all over the crowd light up like stars in the sky.
Turn around and close your eyes.
Covering her eyes, distracted by the noise from the crowd around her he says turn back around. Down on one knee he was with a little black book. Before the question could be asked the answer came unfold.
Yes I do.
The man go up from one knee and kissed her. Everyone around him became mute. He was the happiest man on earth. Holding hands walking towards where the ocean meets the sand. There was nothing in view except for dim path of light. She walks towards in extending her hand.
Come with me.
He takes her hand nothing left but footsteps on the sand as their souls walk towards the never ending pathway of light.
Although my part never made the cut, here is my rationale to explain the choices I made for my project ..
The placement in where I choose to start my creative piece is significant because in the book “The Road”, in boy’s mind his dream was so strong that instantly he awakened full of emotions. Almost as if the dream was really real. It is interesting because to the man he was unaware that the boy unknowingly had a dream about the man dying. I choose to do a scene about a dream because in the book dreams are nothing but an illusion of reality. Dreams in this book have multiple meanings to them. The dreams are essentially a parallel universe, however each dream varies on the outcome. Whether it is negative or positive or whether the man or the boy posses the dream. It reveals a new fragment to the plot of the story.
The plot for the creative piece was very simple. In the book “The Road” the man shows his affection towards the boy in a oddly way. It comes across however as reader as severely over protective. I wanted to recreate a time in the man’s life where he was once carefree and happy. His wife who is signified as “her” in this section is not mentioned often in the actual book because, she leaves in the very beginning of the book. It is unknown of what really happened to her character, although you have a clue. Therefore I created this flash black in the man dreams, where he was head over heels in love with her. The setting is on the beach, which is a familiar setting in the book. However there are people all around, caught by the attention of the kites in the sky. The man proposes to the women and their full of bliss. But the twist is at the very end it says “He takes her hand nothing left but footsteps on the sand as their souls walk towards the never ending pathway of light.”, this sentence right here is SUPER important. I say this because it lets you know that this is not real. The man and woman are no longer in existent,as it says their souls leave their body. By context clues you can infer that the man and woman are following the never ending light which would be considered the gateway to heaven. My McCarthy-esque word is runswards which means to run forward and or to run towards.
The graystricken world had gotten to her. The man was not angry with her. He thought it was better to be with the boy himself. Less supplies to gather. One less person to worry about. He slept next to the boy that night for the first time. The man looked at the sky.
Why would you do this to me? Why would you take her? She didn’t mean those things she said. She loved him just as much as I did. You took away her will to survive! You did this!
The boy sleepily rolled over.
What’s wrong Papa?
Nothing. Go back to sleep.
Are you crying?
Go back to sleep. We’re leaving in the morning.
The man and the boy packed up their belongings. The boy looked into the distance, the gray sky seeming deeper and more hopeless than usual.
She’s gone, isn’t she?
Yes she is.
What is she going to do about the fire?
We’ll have to take it for her.
Is it my fault?
No it's not.
She didn’t love me did she?
The man glanced down from the boy’s eyes.
No he finally said.
Do you love me Papa?
I’m going to miss her.
You’re not going to leave me are you?
We all leave each other at some point. The man and boy continued along the road alone with the man doing his best to ignore anything that would remind him of an obsidian flake.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy describes a world in which hopelessness runs rampant, taking the lives of many, most notably the mother of the boy. McCarthy is often criticized for the roles of women in his books, this one being no exception. The woman in The Road is often viewed as the weak, low point of the book. She is cold, one dimensional, and unable to sympathize with the man’s want to survive. The mother was dismissed when she shouldn’t have been.
This scene comes directly after the woman ends her own life. In the novel, this part is relatively unimportant and skipped over entirely. Adding more allowed the characters to express how they were feeling about the situation instead of the situation just happening with no repercussions or emotion. The man screams up to God, a constant theme throughout the novel, and expresses his disbelief that he would take his wife from him, even though it was clear that he and the boy cared deeply for her, as is evident in the parts preceding this added scene.
The boy cares so deeply for his mother, the first thing he is concerned with after learning about her disappearance is the fire they were supposed to carry together. Carrying the fire can mean many different things and is more or less left up to interpretation in the novel, but it means a lot to the boy and the man. It seems to give them purpose to carry on and survive in a world where nothing has any tangible meaning.
In a world with no meaning to be found, a few questions linger in the air. What is the purpose of anything? Why survive? What are you looking to achieve? Unfortunately, the mother thought the answer to these questions, quite simply, was nothing. She felt like nothing mattered, that no matter what they do as a family of survivors, nothing will bring the adrenaline rush of achievement. Gray will stay gray, and it will never get brighter. The boy explores this idea when he asks the man if he is going to leave him to which the man responds, “We all leave each other at some point.” This is direct foreshadowing to the end of the book when the man and the boy part ways.
Graystricken isn’t a real word, but to McCarthy it would’ve been. Grayness, another common word throughout the novel, represents hopelessness. Depression and hopelessness are common in a world where we’re not forced to scavenge for food. Graystricken is describing how hopelessness engulfs something and strikes that feeling into someone, much in the way grayness takes over the world.
He looked up, his wet and grimy face. Yes I am, he said. I am the one.
This is a scene I imagine was cut before the final publication of The Road on page 259, continuing from the above statement.
I worry about where we’re going, what will happen to us, the ones who eat people.
The boy held his gaze
Where are we going Papa?
We’re going south
What’s in the south Papa?
I wish I was dead
The man came to life and grabbed his son by his shoulders and shook him hard
Don’t say that!
Why not? Mama’s over there, we won’t be hungry, we won’t be scared.
We’re carrying the fire
You killed that man.
I didn’t kill him
You took everything from him
He stole from us!
He didn’t steal clothes off our backs. What is the point of carrying the fire if you only carry it for yourself?
He looked down at the boy, his shoulders lifting heavily with every breath.
He was a bad guy
Everyone isn’t a bad guy! If we were really good guys we would help people. We wouldn’t take everything from people. If you had found blankets and food would you have just left it there?
He knelt to a squatting position and rubbed his legs.
Then how is he worse than us?
He rose until he met the boy’s eyeline and looked into his eyes.
What if I promise to pass the fire onto the people we meet, as long as they’re not cannibals?
I want you to do it because it’s what’s right
Okay. We share the fire. And if they’re bad
you’ve gotta take a shot.
For my creative piece, I wanted to use my own opinions and feelings about the book, and speak to the man through the boy. Early on in the book I wondered about the man’s motivation to “go south” but I’ve wondered more about why he insists they keep moving forward. It didn’t make sense to me. I had the feeling that the man was not keeping his son’s best interest in mind, and that he was making both their lives worse by continuing their journey.
The result of these thoughts made me angry at the man, for keeping his son starving and terrified, for this assignment I had the boy confront the man. Because I felt that the boy has always been smart and that he had these thoughts too. I placed my passage just before they went back and returned the clothes to the thief on page 259 because I felt that since the boy was already angry and was bottling his emotions, it would be a good place for him to empty out his feelings towards his father.
I had the boy introduce a new argument; sharing the fire, and how his father doesn’t share the fire with others. I was able to bring back some of my original idea when the boy says, “what’s the point of carrying the fire if you only carry it for yourself?” This goes back to the theme of morals, and how the boy has more than his father; his father tells him that they are the good guys and that they’re carrying the fire, but the boy doesn’t understand how they can be the good guys if they don’t help others and share the fire.
I added in small descriptors throughout the dialogue. Something I wanted to focus on was the idea of the man “looking down” at the boy, this was a phrase I used when they first started talking. As the scene goes on and the man beings to understand the boy I described the man standing up as if to look back down at the boy, but instead he meets the boy at his eyeline. I put this in to define the transition from father and son to equals, I think that the boy’s speech would have made the man see how smart the boy was, that he was learning from the boy.