The Road

Section 1

 Think about the literary style of the book - there are no quotation marks to differentiate speech from the rest of the text, and sometimes punctuation is omitted. How does this style reflect the atmosphere and themes of the book?

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From the very first page of The Road, McCarthy's distinct writing style fits the world he describes. Most obviously, his punctuation is extremely sparse. McCarthy does not use apostrophes to indicate contractions (for example, he uses "dont" instead of "don't"), and he does not use quotation marks to set apart dialogue from exposition. The conventions of writing hardly matter in this post-apocalyptic world. Moreover, the dialogue is usually set apart from exposition as a new indented line, but occasionally, some dialogue runs into the exposition as well. For example: "His face in the small light streaked with black from the rain like some old world thespian. Can I ask you something? he said" (9).

Further, in the above quotation, one can also see that McCarthy's prose often includes sentence fragments. In other cases, a lack of commas and other punctuation creates run-on sentences: "He dreamt of walking in a flowering wood where birds flew before them he and the child and the sky was aching blue but he was learning how to wake himself from just such siren worlds" (15). McCarthy's stark prose style here reflects the barrenness of the landscape. The relentless consistency of this writing style helps create and sustain the mood of the book and its world.