A reading club with a view to the future

593 Cormac McCarthy: The Road

A father and son’s journey through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, facing the darkness within and searching for hope.



"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy is a haunting and poignant post-apocalyptic novel set in a desolate, ashen landscape. The story follows an unnamed father and his young son as they traverse a devastated world, where almost all life has been extinguished by an unexplained cataclysm. Amidst the bleakness and constant threat of cannibalistic scavengers, the pair embarks on a harrowing journey southward, seeking safety and sustenance.


Title: The Road 

Author: Cormac McCarthy 

Publishing Year: 2006 

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf 

Length: 6 hours and 39 minutes 

5 main ideas

  1. Post-Apocalyptic Landscape: A desolate world, covered in ash and devoid of life, presents a stark backdrop for the father and son's journey.
  2. Parent-Child Bond: The unyielding love and protection between the father and his son serves as a lifeline in the face of unimaginable adversity.
  3. Moral Dilemmas: The father grapples with difficult choices to ensure his son's survival, wrestling with the ethical implications of their actions.
  4. Fragility of Humanity: The novel explores the vulnerability and resilience of human nature in the face of an apocalyptic catastrophe.
  5. Hope and Despair: Amidst the pervasive darkness, the father and son's quest for hope and goodness becomes a powerful theme throughout the narrative.

5 funny quotes

  • Due to the serious and contemplative nature of the novel, it does not feature light-hearted or humorous elements typically found in lighter works of fiction. Instead, the narrative maintains a consistent tone that reflects the harshness of the characters' circumstances.

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget."
  2. "The frailty of everything revealed at last. Old and troubling issues resolved into nothingness and night. The last instance of a thing takes the class with it. Turns out the light and is gone. Look around you. Ever is a long time. But the boy knew what he knew. That ever is no time at all."
  3. "People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn't believe in that. Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them. It didn't even know they were there."
  4. "Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world."
  5. "You have my whole heart. You always did. You're the best guy. You always were. If I'm not here you can still talk to me. You can talk to me and I'll talk to you. You'll see."

5 dilemmas

  1. The moral dilemma of choosing between acts of kindness and self-preservation in a world devoid of moral norms.
  2. The existential dilemma of finding purpose and meaning in a world stripped of civilization and hope.
  3. The ethical dilemma of protecting one's loved ones while also safeguarding their moral values.
  4. The emotional dilemma of coping with loss and grief while continuing to endure in a bleak landscape.
  5. The parental dilemma of balancing the instinct to shield one's child from harsh realities with preparing them for the harsh truths of the world.

5 examples

  1. The Man - The unnamed protagonist and father, whose determination to protect his son drives the story.
  2. The Boy - The young son, a symbol of hope and innocence in a world of darkness and despair.
  3. The House - A brief moment of respite for the father and son during their journey.
  4. The Road - The treacherous path the father and son travel in search of safety and a better future.
  5. The Scavengers - Desperate and dangerous individuals who threaten the father and son's survival.

Referenced books

The Road" does not directly reference other books. It stands as a self-contained work of profound significance

Share a quote

"You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget."

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