This is how I imagine the ending should have happened. I begin with an excerpt from the final pages that serves as the end of a chapter. The chapter after, indicated by the 3 dots, is my new ending for the book.
27 January 2016
McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 287
The woman when she saw him put her arms around him and held him. Oh, she said, I am glad to see you. She would talk to him sometimes about God. He tried to talk to God but the best thing was to talk to his father and he did talk to him and he didn’t forget. The woman said that was all right. She said that the breath of God was his breath yet though it pass from man to man through all of time.
. . .
It had been several weeks on the road traveling with his new family. The boy had still not fully accepted the passing of his father and he often woke in the night looking to see if he were there next to him. Each time he quickly brushed off the sadness knowing that this is where papa would want him to be.
The days lived out had hardly changed and he and the others ran the same procedures as before when scouring the wastes. Each creaking door, rustling leaf, and supposed footstep was analyzed and each item surveyed for use. While food continued to be scarce the group still found ways to make miracles out of each closely portioned meal. From time to time they encountered small bands of bandits, but only once were forced to take action.
As each day passed they settled the night in another town, village, or brush of foliage. The days slowly began to get warmer, signifying they were getting closer to what may be salvation. While hopes arose, they also had to prepare for the worst. For if there were to be salvation, there would certainly be villains ready to fight for it.
The boy sat for supper on the side of the road, as was customary. With nothing to clear his mind the boy looked to the sky once again and spoke to his father for the last time.
While Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” is deemed a masterpiece by many, I feel as if the closure of the novel is not in an optimal state. The new family adopted by the boy is mysterious. The kindness shown by them goes to show trust, but can also be used for deception. As a reader I felt as if it was left unclear as to whether or not the boy was with a truly moral group. The state of their resources and whether they would make it or not was a topic that would often pilfer the satisfaction given by the book.
By rewriting and continuing the ending I was able to better tell the possible scenarios that they would encounter and their chances of surviving said encounters. This is something I know many may disagree with, but it is an acceptable uncanonical ending that still maintains the grim themes, and tone created by the vocabulary of McCarthy. The continuation of the basic survival procedures the man taught the boy go to reinforce one of a few motifs touched on in my piece. The tactics and caution of searching the environment for resources is one that buffers the proof that this world is almost certainly devoid of moral.
This continuation of procedures not only adds to the motif but also serves as evidence that the man succeeded in training and preparing this boy to live on without his father. While the boy is apart of a new family, he is not helpless and tasks himself with continuing life as his father taught him. This new group “carries the fire” despite not understanding the meaning of it. As a reader, fire is the hope, and ability to move on against all odds which is what they had done. The fire they held in their hearts allowed them to trek endless miles and scour in the hopes of finally catching up to what may be the last of the sane people left in this world.
When bringing the story to a close I use the boys speaking to his father’s spirit as a means of furthering the idea that the boy has rapidly matured and can survive on his own. Something that is mentioned often in the story is that thinking of the good ol’ times, or the past, is simply a means to your downfall. The boy had this pressed on him many times, and while he still loves his father, he finds it necessary to move on by removing these sentiments.