McCarthy Unabridged: Page 166

The passage below is how I imagined a flashback to what it was like as the apocalypse started.

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.

For what?

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.

Here is my rationale as to why and what I feel this section this section would add to the novel

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.

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