McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 276

This passage is one that I have imagined as a piece of the road that was cut, prior to the book's release;

In the morning they walked along the river, following a small trail of old footsteps that mixed the sand with mud and grime. Hollowed trees littered the riverbank and the excess of water had long since drove the trees into the murky grey water. A small village stood ahead, with homes that sat covered with ash and half flooded. A tarp sat in the middle of the village covering a three-legged stand. The man lifted the tarp to find an old painting of a man and a dog running down a green road with the joyful sun smiling down on them. A tragic reminder of the bright and simple past.

Can we bring it with us?

No, it’s too big for the cart.


The boy looked at the buildings around them as they stood and swayed in the blackened swamp.

Should we look through the home?

No, there's nothing here.

He left the tarp covering the painting and walked away, the boy looked at the painting for a moment before following him, the faded blue tarp left on the stand to guard the ancient oiled canvas. They made camp further down the trail, the boy was still looked back towards the sunken village.

Papa, are their any more paintings?


Can I make one

Yes, when you're safe


The man felt a cough building in his long-damaged lungs and turned away from the boy as his throat released a stream of ash and dead air.

This is my Rationale to explain why I feel that these choices should have been made;

In my piece, I started out with a description of their location, as most of the Road segments begin. As the piece fits in on page 276, I mentioned the tidal river with the broken bridge and used it to set up a broken flooded environment where they are forced to go around, following a path left by previous travelers. I decided to bring in a village in order to provide a place for the painting to feel natural and show a subtle piece of character development for the boy.

I choose to add in the painting to show a small remainder of hope in the barbaric world of The Road. Additionally the painting would work to give the boy an understanding of why to live on, showing him a small image of the world before and the idea that their can still be beauty in this world. The painting also allows a closer look at the boy who is shown to be quite creative at some points such as towards the beginning when he paints his face-mask with a piece of charcoal. The boy also asks if they can keep it, given that it’s his trademark response to almost all of the new things he finds.

Another smaller moment I added in was the boy asking if they should search the houses. The boy has constantly expressed fear when it comes to searching the houses, but here he understands the need to live on and is willing to take a chance in order to live on. This also sets up the ending where he is willing to take a chance and join the group. However the man is more guarded and disagrees with taking the chance as he knows he doesn’t have much time left and doesn’t want to take the chance and have his luck finally run out.

The boy later asks the man if their are any more painting and if he would be able to make one. The man’s response of “Yes, when you’re safe” rather than “when we are safe” is a subtle foreshadowing of the man’s approaching death that the boy doesn’t catch on. Finally the man’s cough shows how close he is to dying at this point.

A McCarthy-esque vocabulary word that I used was murky, I choose to use it to describe the river they pass by and I feel that it’s a good description of the greyed and damaged world that the story takes place in.