McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 281

The passage below was edited out of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road final edition

As he walked through the solemn woods the boy revisited his dream from the night. He lay somewhere on the road as if he were a bambino, naked. His senses at first nonexistent. As they returned, a sticky and smothering ash fell all around him. It was night time yet he saw through the suffocating darkness perfectly. An endless expanse reached in every direction. It was both inviting and deplorable. He called out papa. No reply. No Echo. Silence. The boy, a clean illuminated avatar eventually stood up; his outline etched permanently on the road. He was cold. Frightened. Alone. The ash began to milden, then finally cease. As the last particles of ash assumed the ground, he looked up to the sky to behold a new sight. What he imagined were stars, dotted the dark ocean above. The stars gazed back at him, strange and intense. They twinkled and danced, so much so that the boy thought he recognized shapes amidst them. A gust of ash forced him to shield his eyes and when he looked back up he thought he recognized the outline of a pistol. As he tried to focus more ash began to fall again. He blinked. He woke.

This is my rationale to explain why I did what I did

My passage will be placed on page 281, in the middle passage after the sentence that ends with “to the road.”  I placed it here because the boy needed some way to understand how to move forward. It is never really clear why not accepting the pistol provoked the boy to trust the new man. I also, think my scene will make the boy’s rationale clearer for trusting the new man, and how the boy is now changed in a way by the passing of his father. 

I chose to use the boy because there is a fork in the road (no pun intended) on how McCarthy could have progressed after the man dies. His options were to either give the boy a new caretaker or let the boy travel alone as a man. Since Mccarthy went down the path of a new caretaker, I chose to have the boy seem to be reborn. He is reborn stronger and more mature and now this new caretaker must teach the boy about things the man could not. I use a dream for this because the book never gives us any details about the boy's dreams. However it is strongly implied that the dreams he has foreshadow major events in the book. 

My peice answers the question “how does one mature?” by emphasizing the pistol. When confronted by the new man the boy offers his pistol and the man rejects it. This is showing that the boy is beginning to think more maturely. The boy prior to my scene would have either cowered or begged for help. My scene will foreshadow this event and it is also what pushed the boy to accept the new man as a good guy. The boy connects the man's non acceptance of the pistol to his dream. 

I used an unfamiliar word, bambino, to try and mimic McCarthy’s writing style. A bambino is a newborn baby, I am using it to emphasize that the boy is being reborn. Not only does this describe the boy figuratively but it also does literally. In my scene I am trying to give the reader the feeling that the boy is actually laying like a newborn. Another word that I use is deplorable. It literally contradicts the warm feeling of being invited. Something deplorable is something that causes a person grief. This endlessness of the new landscape represents the endless possibilities the boy's life can take. It is beckoning the boy to come, yet the boy knows what the road has to offer, and must not accept its invitation joyously.

Comments (6)

Dillon Hershey (Student 2016)
Dillon Hershey

I liked how you chose to have the boy reborn when he finds the new family. I hadn't thought about that happening and it makes sense that he would mature and grow up after his father died. I also liked how you incorporated dreams into the ending because that seemed to be a theme in the book.