McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Page 3

The segment below is what I think was cut from the beginning of, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road in editing.

Why? he asked

You’ll be safe there

You don’t know that.

I grew up there. Some of my family might still be there

The man looked out the window he saw the sun faint in the distance like something that is about to go away forever. There was no clear answer to where they might go. The south is warm but the west is empty. No threat there or at least that is what he could make out. There was no direct source of news just half a paper article floating down to the darkening ground.

The boy wont last long enough to get all the way south

The boy will do as you ask, he will respond to how you treat him. So treat him harsh but explain yourself.

A sound came from outside. You say it like you wont be there. The ground shakes, the house shakes, the table shakes. Everything is still.

We’ll see

It is not safe here anymore. Pack your stuff we are leaving.

The two of them, man and wife, pack as much as they can into a small cart. They are quite so to not disturb the boy sleeping. Only the most important things would make the journey. Canned foods. Blankets. A tarp. A pistol.

This is my rationale for why I chose this segment for this project.

In the story The Road a man and his son walk down a long road, seemingly to nowhere, until tail end. At the end it is revealed that their plan was always to head south, but there is no explanation for why. I thought it would be helpful to the reader to have insight as to why they choose to go south. For this segment I brought in a character that was not often referenced in the book, the boy’s mother. By having the mother tell them to go south it gives a logical reason as to why they are continuing south, through this connection wouldn’t be made until later when the reader learns that the mother is dead. I chose to include the mother giving the man parenting advice to build the character of the father. It gives more personality to the parenting decisions he makes further along in the story. It was important that there still be an obvious divide between the woman, and the man and the boy.  I wanted to foreshadow their relationship and hint at the boy and man being alone on the road from the very beginning.

In the story there is the lingering question of why are they on this road? My segment, placed at the beginning gives a rational end destination. It makes it logical that they would choose to go to the south even though they have no idea what is waiting for them at that destination. They travel down this long road with out question in their mind that this is the way they are supposed to be going. I thought even though the mother did not have a prominent role in the story, she would be the perfect explanation for the decision. In McCarthy’s writing there is a lack of women’s roles. Inkeeping with that I wanted to foreshadow the woman’s absence as well as have her be vague as to not contradict any other part of the story.

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