The Road Reading questions

4.6 (8 reviews)
This novel is classified as part of the post-apocalyptic genre. Why? Refer to some of the clues in the first section which indicate that a terrible event has occurred. As you read, keep track of those clues - record the descriptions of the original event, or the consequences of the event,each time the man refers to them in the narrative
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This novel is classified as part of the post-apocalyptic genre. Why? Refer to some of the clues in the first section which indicate that a terrible event has occurred. As you read, keep track of those clues - record the descriptions of the original event, or the consequences of the event,each time the man refers to them in the narrative
The man has been dreaming about wandering in a flowstone cave, led by his son, "Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some granitic beast" (3). In the dream, the man and his son arrive at a "black and ancient lake" across from a blind creature (3). The creature is translucent, and its innards are vaguely visible. The creature turns away from the man and the boy.
The man and boy are traveling south, towards the sea, because they will not be able to survive the winter where they are. They are traveling through a post-apocalyptic world covered with ash and without animals or plants to eat. They are hoping to find a warmer climate, a better situation, safety, and food. While they eventually reach the sea, their situation does not improve, and the man dies. A very depressing, but very beautifully written book.
Scablands are elevated tracts of rocky land with little or no soil cover and traversed or isolated by postglacial dry stream channels.
Bloodcults are men who roam the road raping and killing people.
I think that McCarthy wanted to personify a post apocalyptic alien-like world where humanity is dead and the landscape feels barren.
What is the significance of dreams in this novel?The Road, memory and narration create realities, whether or not these memories or narrations are accurate. Storytelling and naming, accordingly, are forms of authenticity and power, lending reality to those objects or concepts which are described or named. "Make a list. Recite a litany. Remember" (27).Why does the man say that he doesn始t trust good dreams?The father dreams of his dead wife, "out of a green and leafy canopy" (15), in stark contrast to the black and gray ashes which surround them in the daytime. He does not trust his dreams, believing that they are "the call of languor and of death" (15). But even when awake, he continues to think of his wife.What do we learn about the man始s past in this section?The man lived in a mountainous setting. There is a sense of a connection to nature in his past. He perhaps lived on a farm.Identify the 驶treat始 the boy has in the ruins of the supermarket, and why it is significant.The man finds a can of Coke. The boy had not yet tasted soda pop so it is something new. The boy refuses to drink it unless his father has some. The soda symbolized a world that was now dead.Why do they go to the father始s childhood home?The father wants to see his childhood home..... it is a memory that he wants to relive, a way to hold onto better times..... to the memory of family. Visiting the home also provides closure.What frightens the boy about the house?he boy is frightened and does not want to enter the house, but his father does. The rooms in the house are empty, but they are still as the father remembers themHow has the meaning of time changed for the boy and the man, because of the disaster?Time has reverted back to survival driven time. There is night and day, the human clock means nothing anymore. The world is dying and man interpreted time is useless."Can you do it? When the time comes? Can you?" (29) To what is the father referring? Why?The Father is referring to the time that the son has to take over when he passes away and if he's ready to take the responsibility."That the boy was all that stood between him and death?" (29) What does this mean?The man would rather die in this world. He concedes that his wife was correct by pointing out that dying is preferable to the future in this world turned into Hell. The man just cannot bear to see his boy die: the man will live as long as he can help his boy live.Why doesn始t McCarthy directly state the protagonists始 location?Readers will infer that this wasteland was once the United States of America, a governmental system that presumably dissolved in the apocalyptic disaster. The man cannot explain to the boy why the states were dissolved, but the roads remain. He doesn't name the location because in reality locations no longer exist."Not all dying words are true and this blessing is no less real for being shorn of its ground" (31). To which dying words to you think he is referring? Who or what is the blessing? How do you know?The father is referring to the blessing of warmth and fire.Define "godspoke men"(32).I think he means that in this post-apocalyptic dying world there are no men of faith. God is dead and his followers are dead or simply have ceased to believe."You promised not to do that, the boy said" (34). What do you think his father promised not to do? Why? Does it matter? Explain.The boy says that the father promised not to give all the cocoa to him. The boy made father promise to take some for himself. The boy wants to share whatever his father gives him. I think this matters to the boy. He is such an empathetic character that it pains him to see his father not have some sort of comfort.How old do you think the boy is? How do you know? Provide examples from the text to suggest his age.The boy is probably about 9 or 10 years old. McCarthy never points this out but he is so skilled at subtlety and character that the boy's voice and tone gives us this impression. Despite the world ending, he still has a humility, curiosity and empathy that only a child can posses. He is mature enough to understand context yet he brings a pure childlike ethos that makes him almost Christ-like.What do they do at the waterfall? Do you think this is a wise or foolish act? Why?The boy and the man take of their clothes and go swimming. They are both sickly pale and the boy is very thin. Still they swim around and it is a very natural moment. I don't think they were foolish. A few moments of happiness in nature were an interlude to their seemingly futile existence.Explain the purpose of the father始s flashbacks. Why do they happen so frequently?McCarthy intersperses flashback sequences in this section to describe fragments of the man's life before the catastrophe and to explain what happened to the man's wife. These flashbacks disrupt the story's normal chronology, which generally follows the little boy and the man in the present, and returns the narration to the past.What do the boy and the man decide to do when they first see the other man on the road? Why?They decide to leave him alone. Actually father decides to leave him; the boy wants to help. The man has been hit with lightening and they have neither the supply nor food to help him.Why did the boy want to help the burned man? Why didn始t the father offer help?The boy is a Christ-figure. He possesses an inherent empathy in the midst of the diseased depravity mankind has become. The boy earnestly hopes that he and his father are the "good guys" left. The boy feels this man's pain and wants to comfort him. Father knows they have little to offer the man and that they can barely keep themselves alive. Kindness for others is dead in this disintegrating world: the father does not trust anyone.Explain the significance of the wallet, and what the man does with it.the father empties his wallet of money, old credit cards, his driver's license, and a photograph of his deceased wife. He throws away the wallet, then lays his wife's picture on the road and leaves.Why does the man allow his son to hope and have fantasies about life in the south?The idea of hope for his son is the only justification the man can use to continue the journey. The slim idea of hope is the only thing that separated mother's decision to kill herself from father's decision to move on.No names are given for any of the characters. Suggest reasons why McCarthy made this choice for the story.I think that there are a few ideas at play here. Keeping his characters nameless gives them a sense of universality. They are such profound yet simple people. Their character traits are stripped so bare that the reader can relate to them on an instinctual level. This is perhaps part of the wonderful paradox of this book. The world has fallen and all that is left is chaotic evil yet the boy and his father represent goodness. People can relate to them better than if they had names and more complex identities.Describe the argument that the man had had with his wife- explain the differences in their points of view on whether to live or choose to die.The man held out a stubborn hope that there could somewhere be a refuge or salvation left in the world. The wife points out that all they have seen since the apocalypse was the end of humanity. What is left is the remenence of mans' diseased soul. Mankind is a cancer in its last stages of malignancy. The wife would kill herself and her child rather than wait to be beaten, raped, and eaten by the savages that remain.Why didn始t the woman say goodbye to her son?The mother had already made up her mind to end her own life. We aren't told exactly why she wouldn't wait and say goodbye to her only, she only says "I have to go." We can infer that if she'd waited, possibly she wouldn't have been able to go through with the suicide. We can also infer that it would only have delayed the decision she'd already made.How long do you think they survived together after the disaster? Or, how long did the man始s wife survive before making her final decision? What are the clues in the text?Cormac McCarthy purposely blurs the sense of time. The fact that the world is dead makes the passage of time redundant: almost pointless. I think the mother might have tried to exist for a few months or even a year after the apocalypse for the sake of her child. We can see glimpses of weather patterns through the book that may constitute time but that would only be speculation.Why is the memory of the boy始s birth as important to the man as his wife始s suicide?I think the boy's birth was always a resurrection for the man. His wife's suicide killed part of the man inside but his boy's birth is the man's only sense of redemption. His boy is the reason the man carries on in a dying world.Do you think it is realistic that a truck would still be functional, and that fuel would be obtainable for it, as indicated in the book?I do not see why not. We really do not know when and how far they drove. The truck may not have been damaged and they could have had reserve fuel.Is or was the man a doctor? What evidence suggests this possibility?The man explains to the intruder the science behind the brain and having a bullet shot through it.Why do you think the night is so completely dark in the environment of the book?McCarthy never really tells us how the world has basically ended. There is evidence to suggest something happened that ruined much of what we consider the atmosphere and natural elements. There are no city lights anymore making the "Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more grey..." The moon and stars seem to be gone or elude them, like God had decided to leave. What we are left with is utter blackness, "a blackness to hurt your ears with listening."Explain the significance of the single bullet left in the revolver.It was their last defense. It symbolized the dwindling hope they had.What happened to the man with the knife, after the father and son got away?He was eaten by the other men.According to the man, what is his job, as a father?According to the man, his job is to take care of and protect his son.How long had it been since the father had spoken with another human being, other than his son?That would have been since he spoke to his wife right before she killed herself.List the differences between 驶the bad guys,始 and 驶the good guys.始Good guys do the moral thing. Good guys don't kill people. Good guys do not steal.