Thursday, November 14, 2013

on THE ROAD again!

The Road
Questions, parallels, and contrasts oh my!
pgs 1-31

How long have the two been in the post-apocalyptic world and how does that amount of time affect their will to keep surviving?
Who is the man always talking to? (i.e. bottom of pg 11)

Parallel: One of the parallels I noticed in this section of the book is the constant referral to many kinds of metal. The word "metal" pops up numerous times in this part but many parts of the setting are described by metals like aluminum and steel. I think this is supposed to add to the cold, plain world that the world has come to and that the father and son are living in. The father and son are going to have to find strength and love in each other because of how different and brutal the rest of the world has become.

Contrast: The contrast I noticed was on page 18 when the man was describing his dream. The contrast was how the dream he describes is loaded with color ("sky was aching blue".."gold scrollwork".."green and leafy canopy") while the real world is colorless ("cold and gray and heavy in the scavenged bowl of the countryside"). I think this contrast is used to describe how terrible the world has become from when it used to be colorful.

pgs 32-53

Why do the man and the boy talk to each other so boringly (short questions, short answers)?
How was their family before the world "ended"?

P: "the stark gray world appeared again and again out of the night in the shrouded flare of lightning"(48)
"He's been struck by lightning"(50)
-Lightning appeared throughout this section and I think it illustrates how dangerous this new, post-apocalyptic world has become.

C: "He wished them godspeed till they were gone"(53)
"Tattered gods slouching in their rags across the waste" (52)
-In the first quote he is kind of sending God away from him but in the second he is taking God with him.

pgs 54-72

Is the stranger representing an evil aspect of humanity?
Why did the wife want to kill herself without the boy and father?

P: "Wish I was with my mom" (55)
"The banished sun circles the Earth like a grieving mother with a lamp"
-The mother continues to be referenced throughout the book. I feel like the mother represents death because of how she committed suicide.

C: "I'll be that boy is hungry. Why don't you all just come on to the truck and get something to eat"(65)
"Coming back he found the bones and the skin piled together with rocks over them. A pool of guts"(71)
-At first the stranger seems genuinely nice because he offers the boy food but it is contrasting because he ends up getting eaten himself.

pgs 73-93

Is this "little boy" they mention real?
Is there a possibility of life in the building?

P: "The boy was crying. He kept looking back" (50).
"The boy would not stop crying and he would not stop looking back" (85)
-In both of these scenarios, the boy was crying and wouldn't stop looking back because he was trying to help people.

C: "You have to talk to me. Okay" (77).
"He tried to think of something to say but he could not" (88)
-In the first quote the father is trying to get the boy to speak. In the second one, the father is at a loss of words. These are contrasting because the father tries his best to make the boy speak but then later on it is the father who has nothing to say.

pgs 94-118

Is the repetition of slaves foreshadowing something later in the book?
Why are all those people in the basement? How were they chosen?

P: "Behind them came wagons drawn by slaves in harness.."(92)
"Chattel slaves had once trod those boards bearing food and drink on silver trays" (106)
-There was a repetition of slaves in this section and I think it could mean something about what the father and son may come across or become later in the novel.

C: "Come on, he said" (109)
"For the love of God will you come on, he hissed" (111)
The context in which the father says both of these quotes is contrasting because although he says pretty much the same thing, he says it in two different contexts. At first he is calmingly saying it and then he hisses it angrily.

pgs 119-135

Is there a reason why the boy is compared to an alien?
What does fire represent in the book?

P: "Yes. Because we're carrying the fire" (83)
"And we're carrying the fire. And we're carrying the fire"(129)
-Fire is mentioned throughout the novel and I think it symbolizes hope of survival. In this section I think the "carrying of the fire" means how they are carrying hope in this cruel new world.

C: "With his great staring eyes he'd the look of an alien" (129)
"Taut face and hollow eyes. A strange beauty" (102)
-I think it is interesting how the father references the boys eyes each time, but once he describes them as alien-like and once he describes them as strange yet still beautiful.

pgs 136-160

Again, what does the father mean by calling the boy an alien?
What is the importance of all these brutal deaths that humans keep suffering from and that the father and son come across?

P: "With his great staring eyes he'd the look of an alien" (129)
"He understood for the first time that the boy was an alien" (153)
-Although these quotes are from different sections, it is important to realize how the father calls his son an alien to the new world.

C: "They passed a metal trashdump where someone had once tried to burn bodies. The charred meat and bones under the damp ash.." (150)
"They ate a sumptuous meal by candlelight. Ham and green beans and mashed potatoes with biscuits and gravy" (152).
-These two quotes are contrasting because the first one talks about how burnt bodies are laying in the ash and specifically mention "meat". In the next quote they are coincidentally eating meat next to a candle. 

pgs 160-185

Why is Ely the first name we get in the book?
Is Ely just some crazy old man they came across or does he mean something by all of his contrasts?

P: "..they walked the littered streets carefully.." (150)
"..leading out of th looted and exhausted cities.." (180)
-I like how McCarthy describes the cities as abandoned and how he mentions how both the cities were ransacked. This illustrates how different the post apocalyptic world is from the old world.

C: "Where men can't live gods fare no better. You'll see. It's better to be alone..Things will be better when everybody's gone" (172)
"Better for who?"
-The man they met says many contrasting things but I thought this one was the most contrasting. Ely says how things will be better for everybody when everybody's gone.

pgs 185-210

Could the boys bad dreams be foreshadowing something?
Do all the dead people that the boy sees affect him in any way?

P: "Don't lose heart, he said. We'll be all right" (177)
"And you can't give up. I won't let you" (189)
-Both these quotes show how the father comforts the boy throughout the novel. It is also similar to the "carrying the fire" lines.

C: "He was coughing every step of it" (92)
"In two more they would begin to get weak" (202)
-The father is truthfully getting weaker and weaker because of his sickness. He tries not to realize it in the first quote but gives in in the second one.

pgs 211-230

Does the sea not being blue affect the boy's hopes of survival?
What does the boat symbolize?

P: "Like the desolation of some alien sea breaking the shores of a world unheard of" (215).
"He understood for the first time that the boy was an alien" (153).
- Again the father compares things to aliens. This time he compares the costal sea to an alien. Just with the boy it probably means the sea is different from what it once was.

C: "Is it blue? The sea?" (182)
"I'm sorry it's not blue, he said" (215)
-The father and son's main goal was to reach the coast throughout the novel. The boy asks in high hopes if the sea is blue before they get there but then is very sad and disappointed to find out that it is gray and covered in ash.

pgs 231-259

P: "But you are dying. That is not a lie" (238)


The theme of memory is being used so frequently for a number of reasons but mainly to illustrate the vast differences between the world they're living in now and the world before the apocalypse. This post-apocalyptic world that the boy and his father are surviving in is very cold and cruel especially when compared to the colorful memories that they have. One of the first memories the father recounts takes place at a theatre with "gold scrollwork and sconces and the tall columnar folds of the drapes at either side of the stage"(18). The phrase "gold scrollwork" stands out the most to represent the colorful memories that the father has especially when compared to the "cold and gray and heavy..countryside"(19) of the present world. Memories are also used to represent how the father and son grew up in different worlds. The father realizes he could've committed suicide with his wife but instead decided to try to survive in the cruel world that they're living in. He shares his own memories of games or stories he knew as a kid with his son to help the boy have at least a little more of a similar childhood experience. The biggest memory the boy keeps referring to is that of his mother and how she took her own life. He has stated how he wants to be with his mom who is dead. The son and the father do not refer to the images in the same way because the father is trying to input good memories in his son's head when the son can only think about death.

Literal World:

McCarthy has created his literal world of The Road by making us feel like the characters do in the book while we are reading it. McCarthy's style of writing in this book is very confusing through his short and choppy sentences, poor grammar and punctuation, and not really giving an identity to anyone. I feel as if we're supposed to feel lost and confused just like the characters in the book as they try to survive in the post-apocalyptic world. McCarthy also uses adjectives like cold, gray, and ashen to describe the setting of the book. He also illustrates the clear difference when he describes dreams and memories that the characters have using a variety of colorful words. McCarthy best describes his literal world with "barren, silent, godless"(4). This passage is very important in describing both how the characters feel and what the world is like around them. Using three adjectives as it's own sentence is very confusing and also similar to how the father and son feel as they wander down the road. The three adjectives McCarthy uses in this sentence also perfectly describe the desolate world they're surviving in.

Creation of the Road - before the encountering the bad guys scene

The scene at the bottom of 60 would definitely start with an establishing shot of an extreme close-up on the father's face when he wakes up. His eyes would open suddenly and the audience would hear voices and a loud truck in the distance. The shot would then transition into a medium shot showing the father sitting up to check on the boy. In this MS, we would see the road and then trees behind it in the background. We would then get a POV shot from the father's perspective as he looks at and checks on the boy who is sleeping in the leaves beside him. After he looks at the boy, the audience would get a long shot of the "bad guys" coming down the road in the distance. We would see the headlights of a truck and shadows of humans walking beside it in a slight, foggy haze. They would be in the center of the road with trees on both sides of them and ash all around them. It would then go to a close up of the father as he whispers "God" and then quickly wakes up the child as some fast paced non-diegetic begins to enter the scene. As the music enters the scene, the father would grab his child's hand and begin to run away as we also hear the voices and truck getting louder along with the music.

1 comment:

  1. Michael, Some sharp thinking here at times -- especially your thoughtful "filming" of the novel. Literal world section a little underdeveloped. Please show me the rest of the responses on Monday.