McCarthy Unabridged: The Road, pg. 10

This is an extra scene of what I imagined happened in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road...

Before, they lived with two men and one woman with a child. They took shifts watching for the roadrats. Rumors passed around about people who left the town at night for food or water. Some heard their screams, others heard the chopping. He held her close every night. He could feel the child kicking her skin. Translucent and full, like the moon they would never see again.

The men proposed to move to the next town. They left in the day a week later. The two men held the weapons in the front of the group. The first night was cold. He fell asleep with his pistol beside him and the child between her and him.

He awoke to leaves rustling a few yards away. The two men stood by the woman whose mouth was stuffed with a dirty rag. Her child was limp in between her spread legs. One man leaned down to whisper to her and the other unzipped his pants. She began to sob. He fired once and then twice. Two florid splotches appeared on their heads as they fell.

He untied her hands and feet while her limbs shook. The brains of the child were spread on the ground.

They told me they were going to cook my baby.

He didn’t notice the knife until her hand flashed towards her heart. The color of her face drained onto her clothes. They left the bodies and walked back to town.

For my piece, I chose the quote that stuck with me after I had finished the book. I really like this quote because it really has some connection to the book’s essential questions. The quote is found on page 10 when the boy and the man pass some dead bodies. The boy doesn’t seem to be fazed when he sees the bodies but the man comments on how things stick in your head and the boy points out that the man forgets things. The man replies with “Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.” I thought that this was an interesting quote because it seems as if it had been told to the man by someone else before and I wanted to write about the situation that he would have been in.

I chose to write about cannibalism and morals because that was a huge part of staying the good guys for the boy. Every time they saw evidence of cannibalism, the boy would ask the man if they were going to stay the good guys. The man must have had an experience where he decided that he would never be a cannibal but early enough that the boy wouldn’t have remembered it. If the boy would have remembered a time where they were close to becoming the bad guys, I don’t think that he would have been as innocent as he was portrayed in the book. Some of the essential questions that I thought about in my brainstorm were, “Where do morals come from?” and “Who or what do you live for if there is nothing left?” These fit into my piece because this would be one of the moments that probably would have shaped the man’s morals and then in time, the boy’s morals. The woman in the piece (not the mother of the boy), kills herself in the end because her son is dead. This shows that she was only surviving and living because of her son.

The word I chose to include in my piece was “florid” which is an adjective for reddish, ruddy, and, rosy. This word is usually used in a happy sense because the word’s origin in Latin, meaning to bloom. McCarthy’s writing is not happy at all, so it wouldn’t have made sense to use it. In other books and stories, authors would use the word to bloom when a character would get shot. I used “florid” when the man killed the two other men because it was one of the only times that there would be color described in the piece or even the book.