McCarthy Unabridged: The Road Page 260

The passage I have molded below represents an opportunity that I have capitalized on in the hopes of establishing a deeper understanding of a character in the book The Road by Cormac McCarthy.

Creative Piece

The man focused on what he perceived to be the wind without answering the boy's statement. He drifted on into his own thoughts forgetting about the boy and the world around him. The man opened his eyes shortly afterwards only to find the boy gone. There was a camp fire set up despite the fact that the man had no tools to light one himself. He quickly arose and began to panic in search of his boy only to have a shadowy figure approach him. The man quickly aimed his flare gun at the figure.

Where’s my son

A young handsome man arose from the shadows with a face that seemed oddly familiar to the man.

Is he important to you

Are you an idiot

I’m whatever you want me to be

did you take my son?

If I did

Then you’ll die

What gives you the right

My son does

He’s just a boy

He’s everything to me

Would you kill for him

It’d be the right thing to do

The fire


You carry it don’t you

What kind of bullshit-

Don’t let it consume you otherwise it’ll burn out

Wait who are-

It’s your serah after all

The man awoke to the sound of the boy yelling at him

Papa you’re coughing blood

It’s fine

It’s not

I said it’s fine go back to sleep I have medecine.

The man ignored his own blood in favor of pondering what exactly he just experienced.


My rationale behind the creation of this passage is that I wanted to further define a motif often present in The Road. Throughout the book the boy and man have conflicting ideologies of righteousness and perseverance which leave them at odds with one another. Despite their differences however the man and the boy still agree that they are both “carrying the fire.” This phrase is important to both the man and the boy as it drives them forward in their pursuit of survival. For my passage I wanted this motif of fire to be defined more clearly for the man and thus I had the man have a dream where he comes into direct contact with his own personal “fire.”

For my dream I wanted the man to realize that the fire he possessed was defined as his right to deal justice and his integrity as a human being. To do this I had the man placed in a scenario where he was given the upperhand as a the judge, jury and executioner. I did this also bearing in mind that the man was already recently placed in a similar scenario where his boy believed he made the wrong choice. I had the shadowy figure in dream be one who didn’t seem threatening to the man to have him further question if killing him was the right choice if he had taken the boy. This was important to me because it allowed me to show that the boy’s well being dictated what the man perceived as justice and integrity. The boy was fueling the man’s fire. I wanted this also to be shown as a serious problem for the man which I did by having the shadowy figure mention that the man’s fire could consume him. This was to show that if the man focuses too much on the boy then he could wind up hurting the boy along with himself in the future.

At the very end of the passage I had the shadowy figure mention that the man’s fire could consume him. At this point I had the man refer to the fire as the man’s “serah.” The purpose of this word was to represent the man’s convictions and and approach to life. The man’s serah up until this point in book was to isolate the boy from the world in order to survive. I wanted this be the point in the book where man question if his “serah” was right. The man constantly brushes off the righteous morals of the boy throughout the book and I used this dream to have the man question if the boy was right to have his morals.