Squid and I were just discussing are take-aways from the book, The Road.
while we agree on the themes, we differed on what themes were more dominant.
Squid's take is that the book's ultimate themes are "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" and failing to trust others...and losing touch with your humanity have disastrous effects. I think he would say that the book is a tragedy for the most part.
My take is that is that its uplifting, given the Man's love for the Boy, and his willingness to go through such great lengths, even with such hopelessness, to find a better life for the Boy. Whatever the result, it shows the strength of a parent's love for their child.
Again, we don't disagree that each all of these themes are present in the book, we differ on the dominant theme...
thoughts from those that have read? Uplifting or downtrodden. Was the Man faulted in his approach and blinded by his duty to his child,. or doing the best he could given the circumstances?
EDITED: I hope Pee Jay will forgive me for amending his title. I just don't want anyone to bitch that I ruined the book for them.
This message has been edited by SquiddyBoy on Jul 25, 2011 1:39 PM
I haven't yet read the road, but have read 3 others of Cormac's: The Orchard Keeper, Blood Merdian, [Oxford comma 4eva] and All the Pretty Horses. I've never considered his work uplifting and find that a curious take. I should read this one but not really drawn to the post-Apocalyptic theme. I like these kinds of discussions and wish I'd read it.
The world he created was TOO fucked up. It's going to end. They're all doomed. Was was uplifting about the end? That he wouldn't die alone? By all accounts from the rest of the book, they weren't far south enough. The world was getting colder progressively. Whatever the unnamed event was, it was the species extinction event for man, I'm sure of it. This was a study in what people do when there's nothing left to lose - not a redemption of the human spirit in the face of adversity story.
The love story between father and son is why we're meant to like them, but ultimately all of the father's decisions were wrong and he was blinded by that love. He had lost his faith in humanity so totally that he was unwilling to ask for help and therefore they didn't get any until he was dead. His son had to be his conscience, and even he failed on several occasions to prevent the father from being the monster this hellacious world had made him. In the end, his love for his son was really his only redeeming quality. He was pushed to being not that great a guy otherwise. He was willing to do anything to save his son - couldn't the same be said of some cannibal's for themselves? Why is inhuman behavior on behalf of another somehow more laudable?
The first thing the new guy that found him said was, "Well, for starters gotta get you off the road." The father's entire raison d'etre was to keep them on the road, yet ultimately it was the wrong call. It was a repudiation of most of their journey in my view as unnecessarily dangerous. Why didn't they just stay in the shelter?
The father hated people so much that he took a man wearing rags' only clothes effectively executing him. He didn't want to rescue people set to be eaten by cannibals. Those scenes showed just how ruined a person he'd become.
The moral for me was, "Sure, people suck - some may even try to eat you, but we gotta work together if we're gonna have any chance of making it - which means you're gonna have to trust a few strangers in life." All the contravening evidence in the book was designed to show you that it ain't easy to do that, and you're gonna get burned, but it's still necessary. The guy at the end got that, for all the good it was going to do them.
So, I think the message was still instructive for mankind, but my take was a bit darker than PJ and Appy's.
The man saw what the human race had become and ventured to save his child from becoming a monster. He attempted to shelter him from horrors. He taught him to read, to bathe, to feed himself. He set out down south because winters in the north had become too cold and food too scarce. His hope was realized, people in the south trying to rebuild society. They had children, they did not eat them. They were carrying the light.
The quote "First thing is get you off the road" is a deliverance, birth from the horrible journey to the promised land, promised by the boy's father. Blind faith and hope led him there.
How many times have you read it? I was a bit obsessed with this book and have read it about five times. I suggest reading it again, see what you think
Purgatory is "any condition or place of temporary punishment, suffering, expiation, or the like." You stay in purgatory until your sins (venial and mortal) are nullified. Your purgatory may be different than another's, since I don't think you commit many mortal sins.
Yeah, but the father continues to commit sin all the way down the road. Where's the redemption? The kid never really convinces him that his expediency for survival is 'wrong' per se - he just does what the kid wants because he loves him. There's no satisfaction of the condition of redemption for it to be purgatory...
It could be argued that his sins to save his child were absolveable because he was committing them for good. The other characters in the book were not committing sins to save another, but to save themselves. I think once they reached the coast, they approached Heaven. I don't necessarily think they ever made it in.
I thought Squid's takeaways were interesting given what i got from the book. Its horrible...a nightmarish world where man and woman are doing the very worst they can do to themselves and others. Yet, in the midst of that madness, the Man does the things for his son he hope will turn him into a good person...both in the form of survival and love.
To me, it haunted me for a while, and I had to reread to reconcile some things in the book. I think ultimately, it had a strong impact on me as a parent. Focusing on what's best for your child, even when you deviate from that path. Putting your child's needs ahead of your own...and others.
I think I did the reread because I was closer to Squid interpretation after the first read.
I liked the movie...not the same as reading it, but it never is.
Last book I read was My Abandonment. Good book, if a bit predictable. now I'm bogged down in college courses again...
This message has been edited by orvis on Jul 25, 2011 3:43 PM