The Road

Climax and Anti-climax in The Road, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Great Gatsby 11th Grade

Climaxes are moments of increased tension which signify a central turning point within a text. Anti-climaxes can be defined as moments which subvert expectations as they provide a plot twist which are marked by decreased intensity. This essay reviews climaxes in several works.

In Cormac McCarthy's The Road, the shooting of the road rat early on in the narrative is a particularly climatic episode. McCarthy utilises this to convey from the beginning that the man is willing to sacrifice his morality to survive and to protect his son. The episode is characterised by several pages of unattributed dialogue which physically convey it as essential to the novel and create a moment of heightened tension between the protagonists and the road rat. Without any interruption from the third person narrator, we are offered an intimate perception of the incident which enhances our understanding of the man as the boy's protector. It is increasingly climatic because we are able to witness, at a closer distance, the extent to which the man will go to protect his son: "If you look at him again I'll shoot you." Adding to this, the episode enables McCarthy to establish the road rat as a microcosm for the wider fiends who inhabit the post-apocalyptic...

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