McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 1

McCarthy Unabridged

By: Ameer Forte

Being Human - Giknis


  • PLACEMENT: My excerpt will be inserted into McCarthy’s “The Road” on the very first page. Right before the very first paragraph.

  • The passage below is what I have imagined was cut from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road before the final edition was released-

Creative Piece:

The unforgiving blows to the surface landed like that of an astrobleme sinking itself into the atmosphere. He would pray to God most nights. He would ask him to protect his family to keep them alive. And if that wasnt possible to at least let the child inside the womans womb live. The woman resented that the man did this. She believed that God was only a barmecide part of life humans made up to make the bad in the world easier to cope with. She said to him:

Why do you bother? There is no God.

Yes there is.

How do you know?

I just do.

What God would let this happen to us? I’ll curse his name and die before I ask him for anything.

Dont say that.

What has he done for us?

Hes given us faith. Hope.

In what?

He gave me that child. That child is a gift from God. That is how I know. That child is my hope. My faith.

When the man was sure the bombs had stopped falling he opened the cellar door to find that the remains of his house were just rubble. When he opened the door he was climbing outside for the first time in so long he had forgotten what the sunlight looked like only to find color had been vacuumed from the sky. When the woman made her way out of the bunker the man saw the darkness in the world corrupting her. Dimming her fire. But when he looked at her stomach he saw the light. He almost thought he saw God himself.

  • Below is a rationale explaining the choices I made and why regarding this excerpt-

The Rationale:

My scene is meant to be placed on the very first page, right before the opening paragraph. It is set in the past as an opening prologue to the current timeline of the story. I chose this placement because I think that a small backstory on how The Road came to be should be in the beginning of the novel. I also chose to leave out apostrophes and commas at areas they would typically belong because I think Coric McCarthy would have written it this way, in his unique style.

I chose to create this scene in The Road because it includes two very important themes that also stay consistent throughout the novel. God. Is there one? Does it matter? And the light vs. the darkness. Throughout my excerpt the man and the woman grapple with their views of God. God is an important motif in the novel which is another reason I incorporated this theme in my excerpt. I chose to make the man a believer of God, although throughout the novel I don’t think that that is so clear. But I chose to do this because I do think that the man views the boy as holy and I interpret that as him viewing the boy as a gift from God. All through the novel he believes that God entrusted him to protect the boy. “He knew that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.” (Pg. 5) Here is just one example of that.

This holy view of the boy the man has is also the reason I included the latter part of my scene, where the man looks at the woman's stomach (which is bearing the boy) and sees the light. As opposed to him looking at the woman and seeing the darkness. I believe the purpose of the light in this novel is to show hope within someone. When that hope is lost they become corrupted by darkness. The scene in the novel where the woman left the man and the boy to, we speculate, kill herself, is a scene where I feel the woman lost her hope. I chose to show a little of that beginning in my scene with the man seeing darkness.

The essential questions I addressed are, what is the role of God? What happened before this world? And what made it occur? The first question I answered when I brought out in my scene that the role God to the important characters in my scene (those being the man, the woman, and the boy) is the light and the provider of hope in a world otherwise dark and hopeless. The second and third questions I answered in my first sentence, which was describing a nuclear war going on. That’s what was happening before the current timeline and what caused The Road to come about.

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