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Allegory in ‘The Road’

It is apparent to anyone paying attention while reading “The Road,” one of McCarthy’s best known works, that it can be quite repetitive, especially in the beginning. This is purposeful. Each day of struggle and monotony represents the struggles of the life of an average man – forget about the post-apocalyptic setting. There are other little parties floating around but it is difficult to trust them or even find them amongst all the charred and desiccated bodies upon the side of life’s highways.

I found the switcheroo at the end to be very interesting, how the little boy is actually the focus of the novel rather than the man. The boy is the future, the man realizes this, and his eventual doom is foreshadowed all throughout by his bloody coughing. I understand a lot of the substance of the novel is based on McCarthy’s fears of the world that his own child is going to inherit. This is a perennial fear for those living in the past hundred or so years of rapid change. The world is not as good as the man or McCarthy remember it being but it is all the boy, and me as a matter of fact, truly know.

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