McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 116

The passage below is my own addition to improve The Road before McCarthy rejected it. His loss.

Creative piece:

The man and the boy walked amongst the dead forest with nothing but the gray sky lighting their way. Suddenly they saw a stranger in the middle of the path. He wore a dark dusty suit and a goatee around his face and hobbled on a farmer’s pitchfork. The eyes wanted to escape his skull and in certain light had a maroon color. His skin pale and burnt and like craquelure.

Hello friends.

Who are you? The man responded pointing his gun at him. What's your name?

What isn’t my name? The stranger responded, I have so many. You and your boy seem tired, would you like some bread and food? I have some in my home close by.

He could see the stranger’s long nails. No thanks.

You sure you don’t to even see where I am, kill me and take my food for yourself?

The man was taken aback. Why do you even suggest that?

Because you don’t seem like the man who’d do it, too good, yet anyway. His teeth looked like fangs when they smiled.

C'mon let's go. The man said to the boy as he took him away, keeping the gun on the stranger until he disappeared from sight.

The man and boy got lost in the forest for awhile and needed to retrace their steps. When they returned to the place they met the stranger he was nowhere to be seen, not even a trail of where he would have gone.

My rationale:

That rationale for this project is partially aimed to demonstrate its references the bible. In the Bible there is a passage of when the Devil tempts Jesus in the forest, and this passage is meant to reflect that. “The stranger” is meant to be the Devil and included various elements to what most people think of him as (goatee, pitchfork, suit, burns(to represent hellfire) and reddish eyes) and the boy and man simultaneously represent Jesus (in reference to how later the old man will wonder if the boy is god). Craquelure is a French word used to describe the crack on an oil painting as it ridges with age. Even if people don’t know the immediate definition (like other words Mccarthy uses, fitting into his narrative) it still creates a potential image in the reader's head that will stick with them. Since they have just come from the basement they are still a little shell-shocked from the events that transpired, so are acting out-of-character a bit by not exploring this potential route, especially as the stranger seemed particularly unsettling to them.

One of the larger themes presented in here is what does it mean to be good , and what does it mean to be evil where there is no law or large society to judge? In here it begins to raise that question with the stranger goading the man into a possible action that, while helpful to the man and boy, could be considered evil. And if the stranger gives the suggestion to kill him, does this take place in a part of the story where the man and the boy would be particularly desperate- after they see the basement of the cannibal’s. They would be starving but also pretty little mortally wounded after seeing their fellow man stoop to such low means to survive. They also had to wait to make sure no cannibal’s were chasing after them, so they would be especially tired and hungry from that. With the moral low and their stomach’s empty, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have the stranger try take advantage of them. I don’t think the stranger has any real preference on whether he lives or dies, I think he’s more than a little mentally unhinged and might be trying to play what he would consider a “game” with people and in how they think.

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