The Road

Carrying the Fire: Effective Literary Devices in McCarthy's The Road

Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road is a gripping tale of survival in a post-nuclear holocaust world full of marauders and cannibals. A man and his son travel the United States in search of food and shelter, all the while hiding from (and occasionally battling) the marauders. As one might expect, the novel is very dark. The situation for the man and boy is hopeless, and McCarthy uses a great deal of devices to efficiently portray the desperate journey of his two protagonists.

An interesting device McCarthy uses is the lack of names or physical descriptions of the man and boy, aside from the boy calling his father “Papa.” McCarthy provides no physical descriptions or ages except when the father describes the boy as thin. The two use no regional dialect when speaking, and no exact description of their location appears. The back cover of the novel says that it takes place in America, but McCarthy never even gives this broad detail within the story. All the reader knows is a broad sketch of their travels: from mountains to coast, and from north to south. One might assume that the two are at first somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, heading southeast to the east coast of the United States. The author, however, takes care never to...

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