The Road

The road

Cormac McCarthy has an unmistakable prose style. What do you see as the most distinctive features
of that style? How is the writing in The Road in some ways more like poetry than narrative prose?

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McCarthy subscribes to the less is more style of writing. His prose can be sparce, almost detached. Within those moments of silence and fragmented sentences, the reader can inhale so much mood, tone, and texture that the words become intoxicating. Consider this exchange between the boy and the man:

[The Boy:] It's really cold.
[The Man:] I know.
[The Boy:] Where are we?
[The Man:] Where are we?
[The Boy:] Yes.
[The Man:] I dont know.
[The Boy:] If we were going to die would you tell me?
[The Man:] I dont know. We're not going to die.

Who needs quotation marks when you are Cormack McCarthy? His narrative follows its own flow and seems, at times, otherworldly. At times McCarthy will dazzle you with a simple sentence that sounds like it is right out of the Bible,

He knew that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.

McCarthy embeds his writing with poetic rhythms that ebb and flow through his narrative.