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.
(The Road 66) They came to an old iron bridge in the woods where the vanished road had crossed an all but vanished stream. He was starting to cough and he’d hardly the breath to do it with. He dropped down out of the roadway and into the woods. He turned and stood gasping, trying to listen. He heard nothing. They were but ten minutes from the roadrats. Maybe less. Looming trees around them, leafskinned and twisted. Barren branches like tendrils. Scorched, scaly bark. They moved through the carcass of the woods and the man coughed and coughed and coughed and looked behind him frequently but they werent there. Still no time to catch their breath as they hurried through the shadowy grove until the woods were suddenly blazing bright and tormented with loud snaps.
The man yanked the boy’s arm and pulled him away. An ablaze tree fell in front of them and thundered. In every direction trees crashing down. Some alight with flame. This way! He held the boy’s hand tight and darted them out of the way of falling tree. A growl erupted from the ground where tree connected. They ran but the boy was dragging. Papa! The man coughing and weak and exhausted but somehow with the energy to maneuver around the falling trees. One nearly hit the boy but the man snatched him out of the way. Trees still crashing. Why are they falling Papa? They had nowhere else to go. They continued around the trees through the howls and the ripping and the thuds until it was finally quiet.
The man stopped and looked back at the carnage. Hulking trunks splayed across the ground. Smoke oozing into the gray sky. The man held the boy’s hand. The boy was silent. The man pushed forward. He staggered on another half mile or so and finally dropped to his knees and put the boy down in the ashes and leaves. He wiped the blood from his face and held him. It’s okay. It’s okay.
Rationale — An explanation of the decisions made in the inserted scene
The essential theme that shaped and created my cut scene of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road was the theme of changed purposes in the new world. What was not dangerous before have become threats, and threats are everywhere. What was devalued or taken for granted before have become vital and necessities. I wanted a scene that revolved around an example of this, which is why I added a scene in which they are in the woods and trees fall around around them. This connects to this idea of changed purposes by having the man and the boy in a dangerous situation where the danger is trees, something that in the old world was innocuous and not dangerous, even were symbols of life and peace, and have become threats in this new world. My scene serves to foreshadow and reflect all the parts throughout the book that have or have to do with changed purposes and the transfer from the pre-apocalyptic world to the post-apocalyptic world by having it revolve around this theme.
My choice of placement has to do with the characterization and character development that takes place. I wanted to develop the way in which these characters behave in the face of immediate danger — how they act under impulses and under adrenaline. They are always at risk as long as they are on their journey but I wanted to develop this side of their characters in an extreme situation. This is why I chose to insert this scene at the bottom of page 66, which is moments after they escaped the roadrats: they are already in the woods, they are early enough into the journey to not be on or near the brink, and having just escaped the claws of danger adds to the intensity of the situation. Since these are the driving forces of the scene, the themes of fear and survival were also addressed, as they act out of fear and desire to survive under the pressure of this danger.The motifs of monstrosity and predators are some of my favorites from the book because they connect to the main question and theme of changed purposes and transfer from the old to the new world. Inanimate objects and elements of the landscape often have a monstrous description (serpentine river, warped trees like skeletons), which shows how the world has changed. It creates predators and danger where there weren’t any, or the potential and fear that there might be when they’re not, as they could be anywhere. As such my scene recurred this motif by deliberately describing the trees and the environment this way (tendrils of branches, the trees growling, etc). They have also just escaped real predators.
With the Super Bowl fast approaching it is time to reflect on the football season that has seemingly once again been whisked quickly in and out of our lives. Football is a sport that has a large and passionate fan base, but with passion can also come struggle.
While entertaining and meaningful to many, sports can have an impact other than fun. Sports can also distract people from their lives and duties. Students in particular can see their work suffer due to sports.
People dedicate much of their time to sports, sometimes even whole days. One high school student from Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, senior William Derry, certainly feels the impact of sports on his life.
“On a Sunday I’ll wake up around eight or nine, I’ll watch countdown from about ten to twelve and I’m not going to do work during those times. I’m going to prepare for the game, you know when I was younger I used to go out to get pizza or maybe we’ll throw around the football before the game starts,” Derry said.
“So we’re talking my entire Sunday, besides going to church from maybe eleven to one, is dedicated to watching football. So I would say my Sundays [are] taken over by football.”
William Derry is certainly not alone. The rise in fantasy football, in particular, has caused an even greater impact on workers and students. In fact, in 2015 an estimated sixteen billion dollars were lost to companies due to inefficient working hours as a result of time spent of fantasy sports. This is according to a study done by Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Micah Henry is also a senior at Science Leadership Academy (SLA). Henry is an avid fan of fantasy sports and not only lets them affect his work, but also his mood.
“You know I had these benchmarks due and like, I don’t know, fantasy football, I lost on Monday night because like you know [Carolina Panthers tight end] Greg Olsen got this touchdown,” Henry said.
“Messed up my whole week because I was winning on Sunday night and on Monday night I lost. I didn’t do any homework because I was watching football all night, so I went to bed late.”
While not everyone is affected directly by sports, other can be affected due to their relations with people who become obsessed. Parents need to continually remind their kids to focus their work and often become responsible for the success of their children in this respect.
Meanwhile students often see their friends fall prey to the addiction of football. Joseff Fillamor is a senior at SLA who does not follow or even enjoy traditional sports. However, his friends become obsessed.
“Yeah, I don’t really watch football that much, but whenever I wanna chill with my friends or something they just wanna watch football instead of going out and doing something. Like whenever I wanna go up to the park to skate they’ll just be like ‘uh yeah I’m watching football tonight, it’s sunday’ and I’m just like damn” Fillamor said.
The lesson to be learned here is not that football can cause a toxic environment or that you should quit watching altogether. The lesson is that football, like all things, needs to be taken in moderation. It is when you let it run your life that you can get in trouble.
The passage I wrote below is what I imagined was cut from Cormac McCarthy's The Road while he was writing the book.
He knew he shouldnt have come. Entering the house meant all the memories rushingback to him, but he couldnt help it. Seeing something that once represented his haven in a cold, godless world led to feelings he was not able to describe. He thought that visiting his house would not have a big impact on him. He just wanted to be able to revisit his childhood, his past. The mistake he made was not realizing how dangerous memories can be and how change can affect someone. He didnt know until he was able to see that it was just not the same anymore. Dreams in the world did not represent a child’s imaginings or nightmares. Dreams now meant one or the other: the present or the future. Bad dreams made him fear the world he lives in, but it still reassured him that he was alive. Good dreams let him knew he was giving up. That the end was coming for him.
When it was too late, he noticed that only the house that stood was the present. All of the memories, the events, the happiness were left in the past. His whole life was gone before his eyes. Nothing left. What is there to live for he thought. What is left in this world. Is there hope? He wondered if this is how weak he has already gotten to think about death so easily. Everything so gray. The world so empty.
Here is my rationale to explain the decisions I made for my project.
For my section, I placed it on page 27, after the first paragraph. I wanted to be able to touch more upon the idea of good and bad dreams and giving up, so I thought it would be most beneficial to place it where I did because the paragraph focused on his memories and dreams. My scene adds more to the man’s character development because the readers are able to see how dangerous memories can be. Just by the man remembering his childhood and recalling his joyful moments, it makes it harder for him to move on and shatters his firm belief of trying to survive in a world where everything is gone. In order to foreshadow how sever his illness is, I made him think about giving up and death since that shows the readers that he is having a hard time trying to keep moving on. Foreshadowing this in his house seemed like an interesting choice since his house only represented what is now “dead”. While the house itself was still present, all of the memories and moments shared in his home were dead along with everyone else he cared about.
The theme I chose is dangers of memory. Good memories from the past seem to be one of the biggest obstacles because they remind the man of what he used to have and what he doesn’t have anymore. This theme is significant in my scene because everything is revolved around the idea of how memories can interfere with trying to keep going. My motif is dreams because I think dreams and memories have a very close relationship with each other. Both have always been a recurring theme since memories hinder the man’s motivation to keep going and dreams only made him fear the outcomes: being alive in a dead world or the end coming for him. The essential question I asked was: What is there to live for? What is the point of continuing to survive? Because there is nothing left, both characters have thought about this question at least once in the novel. Even the readers cannot help but ask this question since there seems to be no hope of living in a better environment in the near future. Even in the novel, there are numerous obstacles that tell them dying is easier than surviving. As for a McCarthy-esque vocabulary, I used “rushingback”. I put these two words together because I wanted to create the illusion of all the memories literally coming back to the man at once.
While the man slept motionless the boy remained suffering under a fitful spate of fever dreams. The man was carrying him, stumbling and stopping to cough every twenty counted steps until he finally succumbed to exhaustion dropping to his knees. The boy fell to the ground. The low hung fog compressed them into the earth until the boy was choking on ashes. Stiff and silent. A movement just to the left of him caught the boys and he was instantly blinded by a white unseen before. A dove rustled in the wet cinder and the boy watched rapturous as white wings stretched into the unyielding slate sky. Too soon obsidian spliced the rising light. The mans hand encircled the avian neck wrenching it to earth before the sobbing boy. Eat youre starving the man said shoving the shadowblackened bird into the boys mouth.The boys eyes shot open to ashen sky. He laid there listening to his ragged breaths climb up and down the ladder of protruding ribs. Nothing moved in the birdless sky. Dull waves broke against the shore in the distance. The boys lips were cracked from dehydration but the rain had stopped, not that it would provide respite. He focused his gaze on his sleeping father waiting for him to wake.
I decided to write a dream, because they’re a prevalent motif throughout the book. The relationship between the man and the boy changes towards the end of the book as the man takes more drastic actions to keep the boy safe and alive. I chose to place my creative writing when the boy has a fever. After he wakes up he talks about how he had weird dreams (fever dreams), but he doesn’t want to disclose them. When reading that page, I was curious as to what he dreamt about and if it had anything to do with his father being a good guy or a bad guy.
“Good guys and bad guys” is the theme that connects to the first essential question: Can good people do bad things and still be good? The man has walked this line a few times. He won’t share food which can be considered a bad thing, but it is for the longevity of his son’s life. In the dream I wrote, the man kills a bird, but it’s because his son is starving. The bird motif was important for me to address because it has symbolized freedom and innocence. The man in the dream sacrifices that to keep his son alive, which is a comment on another essential question: Is there a time to stop surviving and die? The boy would never sacrifice something as pure and rare as a bird just to stay alive a little while longer.
This dream is foreshadowing the scene with the thief that is about to take place and is reflective of the way their relationship has evolved. In the next scene the man is brutal to the thief and essentially condemns him to death because he threatened the life of his son. In that moment he is a bad guy. Light and dark are also important motifs because often McCarthy indicates that the man lives in the grey space in between. In the dream, he kills the bird to save the boy even though the boy protests. The father forces the boy to live even if it goes against the boy’s own moral code.
My McCarthy-esque word could either be spate, rapturous, or shadowblackened. Spate is just a very uncommon word and I feel like that is something McCarthy has mastered. Rapturous is another uncommon word and it has a biblical connotation. It is also a surprisingly aggressive word even though it means extreme joy. And shadowblackened is not a “real” word, which we have seen McCarthy do before. It could mean that shadow and dark are permanent, which is the effect the man had on the bird. He already ruined it just by touching it.