Discussing the Quality of Fatherhood in Cormac McCarthy’s the Road

Category: Hobbies
Last Updated: 16 May 2023
Essay type: Argumentative
Pages: 3 Views: 153

"The Road" Argumentative Essay

The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a gripping post-cataclysmic novel featuring a father and his young son as they venture across an ashen wasteland once known as America. In this unrecognizable world, the father is forced to be a strong role model for his son, and he is. The father in the road is indeed a good father, the best he can be in his situation. The man is a good father because he constantly attempts to protect the boy physically - despite his own morals - and always tries to provide for the boy no matter what.

As the duo treks south through America, they sporadically come across a number of foes. The very first of these enemies is a cannibal trucker, part of a bigger group. In order to relieve himself, he comes into the woods where the boy and the man are hiding. As he spots the duo, the trucker quickly attempts to alert his crew, but the man aims the gun and threatens to kill the trucker, saying, "You think I won't kill you but you're wrong.

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But what I'd rather do is take you up this road a mile or so and then turn you loose. That's all the head start we need. You won't find us. You won't even know which way we went." (McCarthy 65). In this small excerpt, two things are quickly established: one, the man would prefer a nonviolent solution over a violent one. He gives the trucker a choice to leave without any conflict, so he quite obviously doesn't want to kill anybody. The second thing established is that the man would also do anything to protect the boy. The trucker is constantly eyeing the boy, and implies early that he is a cannibal.

At the top of page 65, after the trucker's eyes wander to the boy again, the man says "If you look at him again I'll shoot you." (McCarthy 65); and the man does indeed end up shooting the trucker: "[The trucker] dove and grabbed the boy and rolled and came up holding him against his chest with the knife at his throat... [The man] leveled the pistol and fired from a two-handed position balanced on both knees at a distance of six feet. [The trucker] fell back instantly and lay with blood bubbling from the hole in his forehead." (McCarthy 66). Despite his desire to leave the trucker be and depart without any conflict, the man was forced to murder in order to protect the boy, his only source of joy left in the world.

In the new world, resources are hard to come by; one of the most scarce is food. All the grocery stores and supermarkets are long gone, as are any crops. The father and his young protege are constantly searching for food, and are constantly starving; any food they can find is a godsend. For this reason, the father will do anything for food in order to guarantee that he and his son will live to see the next day. One such example of this is when the two pair unknowingly enter a house occupied by cannibals.

There are quite a few red flags to alert the father that the house was not, in fact, vacant: "The doors and the drawers were gone but the rest of it was too large to burn"; "Piled in a windrow in one corner of the room was a great heap of clothes"; "There were mattresses and bedding arranged on the floor in front of the hearth" (McCarthy 107). The man ignored all these signs, though, as the hunger was overcoming him and he believed the boy was paranoid. All of the signs of living were quite obvious, but the father overlooked all these signs due to his determination to find food for both himself and the boy. Another example of the father's need to provide for the boy is a very innocent one. The man finds a Coca-Cola, which is obviously quite scarce now:

"What is it, Papa?", [the boy said].

'It's a treat. For you.', [the man said]." (McCarthy 23).

The father finds a delicious, scarce treat and gives it to the boy without any second thought. He even resists when the boy later offers some to him: "You have some, Papa.', [the boy said].

'I want you to drink it', [the father said]." (McCarthy 23).

This shows the father's selflessness and inclination to provide for the boy.

In conclusion, the father in Cormac McCarthy's The Road is a good father because he will protect and provide for the boy no matter what. These are traits that can be found in any good, loving father. In the post-cataclysmic, destroyed world, the man could have easily abandoned the boy and fended for himself without anyone to weigh him down - but he didn't. This shows the father's relentless love for the boy, making him an amazing dad.

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Discussing the Quality of Fatherhood in Cormac McCarthy’s the Road. (2023, May 16). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/discussing-the-quality-of-fatherhood-in-cormac-mccarthys-the-road/

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