McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 277

This piece of writing is a personal interpretation of what would have been from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road had it not been edited:

Creative Piece:

The fire continues to pierce the dense night even as the boy sleeps. It's soft glow surrounds his head casting a shadow onto the man. Yet he still feels its warmth. The gun lies in the dirt between the two. One real bullet remaining. The man lays staring at the golden reflection of the fire die down through its silver barrel. He feels a pounding on the back of his eyes as they climb up to the boy’s face. A soft quiver jolts through his hands and gets more sporadic as he reaches for the gun. He holds it loosely by its bloodfelt grip. The gun tumbles its way to the boy’s forehead. He takes aim. The gun drifts from position to position across the boy’s forehead. Powerless to hold a single target. He released his grip and droped his arm. He looked into the face of his sleeping son. A lone tear drifts down the man’s cheek. He shifted himself to look at the ever present void above him. The glow of the fire sits in the corner of his eye. You’ve taken my son from me, the man croaked. Or maybe you’ve always had him. The man looks to the yellow glow. I guess we have to thank you for the bunker and the boat, he says. At least I know you’ll be safe. The man closes his eyes. He feels the soft glow of the fire from the direction of his son. It soothes him to sleep.

Below is an explanation of the different factors that make up the piece above and how it would fit into the overall story:

The Rationale:

The passage above is meant to round off the world of the book The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. I chose to add to the end of page 277. This moment is the perfect opportunity to insert more information on the father’s acceptance of his inability to kill his own child in the name of protection. On the page itself the father is dying and he notes how his son is an honor to all prophets. I feel this to be the moment that the father is most understanding of the implications of his son’s value as an important figure. The page overall sets up a great contrast between the son’s importance and the man’s fleeting life, helping to expand on the conflict. Should the man kill the boy to protect him, or allow him to live to spread his hope to the wasteland?

I began by drawing a connection between the boy and the fire, mentioning how fire keeps going even as the boy sleeps. The fire itself is a symbol of hope and positivity, and throughout the story we see how this boy spreads this through his kind actions. The man also believed the the boy has something special in him as well, but he often alludes it to be in a more spiritual manner. The fire is portrayed respectively as a light in the dark, alluding to the boy being a hope in the dreadful world. Even the lifeline of the boy is shown to be connected to the fire. As the man looks at the gun, to kill the boy, and  the fire is seen dying in its reflection.

The story then moves into developing the character of the man,  justifying his later acceptance towards the predicament. He attempts to shoot the boy. Every step the man took from picking the gun up to aiming it is dreadful for him, to reflect the father's feelings towards attempting this action. Even when he has the gun aimed, his sickness makes it hard to aim. This man comes to the conclusion that God is protecting the boy from his death, of course this is kept open to interpretation as to why he could not kill him. The man believes since his son will be protected from anything, including his own father, he no longer fears for his safety.

The scene shows the hopelessness of the situation and how the man must accept his son’s responsibility to carry the fire. This rounds out the character more and explains his latter actions to accept his son’s survival even after his son wants to die with him. In the end he sleeps sure his son will be safe.

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