McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, Pages 58 to 59

The following passage is what I have imagined would be included in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road: Collector’s Edition.

The boy resembles her vastly. But his eyes were the man’s. Dark and sullen. When he asks him questions the man is often reminded of her. He gives the same inquisitive expression that could only come from her. The night she left he fell asleep rather quickly, and to the man’s surprise he did not cry. It was the first time the man felt that the boy was starting to outgrow their relationship. He couldn’t help but think about where she went as the boy slept. He knew he would never see her again but could not help but wonder if she was trekking the same bleak road as they were. Walking and surviving. He’d taught her that much at least.

.     .     .

In his dreams he felt her. He was alone and walking toward a stark gray house with its door slung open. The beads of sweat rolled down his temples as he approached. Cautiously. As he stepped past the porch, he knew something was bizarre. Everything in the house was completely untouched. As if everything that happened hit everywhere on Earth except here. Opening the door to the basement he heard her. The wooden steps creaking with every shift as he came closer. She called to him. When he reached the bottom, he turned around anxiously, searching for her. But waiting for him was the boy.

The following is my in depth rationale explaining the reason for any literary choices I may have made for this project.

In my project, I chose to address the mother a bit more and explore some of the effects of her absence. I split my passage into two different scenes. The first being the man’s thoughts about his son after his wife left and the second being a dream he had. I chose to place this between pages 58 and 59 right after the man explains the mystery and silence of the way she left.

My overarching theme centered around personal growth. The essential question I found for this novel was “How has tragedy altered the development of the characters’ strength?” It seems as though every time something bad happens to the father and son, the son matures more and the father weakens. Though some might think the father persevered throughout the story, I think McCarthy shed light on his weakening spirit during the whole story while the son however became gradually less fearful.

On page 58, the mother has just left the father and son and the only thing the boy chose to ask was, “She’s gone isn’t she?” and nothing further. This stood out to me a lot because the boy is often very inquisitive of his father, and for something so monumental and sad in both of their lives, he only posed one question. So I chose to talk about that through the father’s perspective in my passage. I included that the boy did not cry the night she left, another sign of growth in his character. This wasn’t something he feared.

Along the passage, I used small familiar description words or phrases used along the book to best match McCarthy’s style of writing. Some of these include “Dark and sullen”, “the same bleak road”, “He’d taught her that much at least”. I also tried to avoid saying “the man” and “the boy” too often and instead used “he”; McCarthy often purposely uses “he” even though there are two male characters because he assumes readers will know who he is referring to in the story. For my McCarthy-esque vocabulary word, I chose “trekking”. He is a fan of using words that describe something long, vast, or dragging. I felt like the word “trekking” captured that because it describes going on a long arduous journey which is the basis of the entire novel.

The second part of my passage is a dream the man has about his wife the night after she left. He thinks he’s found her and when he reaches his destination there is only his son waiting. This is the reality he now faces, and he is coming to terms with it here. I also made the dream parallel to the scene later where they find the bodies calling for help because this could be something that happened to her when she left.

Comments (5)

Dylan McKeon (Student 2016)
Dylan McKeon

Great job, McCarthy's style is very clear in your writing and the part shown is definitely one that could fit seamlessly into The Road and would helps improve the piece about the mother leaving.