Discussion Paper from the 1st Wed Reading Group


The 1st Wednesday Reading Group has discussed ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy, which is also a book made into the film.

"In a novel set in an indefinite, futuristic, post-apocalyptic world, a father and his young son make their way through the ruins of a devastated American landscape, struggling to survive and preserve the last remnants of their own humanity." (From NoveList Plus – a library database)

For the story/plot, some members described it personal, mythical and apocalyptic, a symbol of lack of trust. It was also a sense of everything having been abandoned, yet so many were on the road. The mother’s suicide and father’s death didn’t impair the boy’s searching for good people and a sense of love, hope and idealism. Reference to the trout in the streams in the mountains - perhaps this was seen as the future; a regeneration of the earth. There was no names for the characters; a device to suggest the starkness of the situation

There are two main characters, a father and a boy.  The relationship sometimes could be seen as brutal, especially as the father is not trusting and shows a lack of compassion.

As for the language, some members thought that it was well written but the story line seemed too “fairytale” like and the use of language suggested it was in America. Some thought it was beautifully written, but others mentioned it was in archaic construction and some sentences were not even grammatical, but did flow and were evocative. Different views on this book made a the discussion more interesting.

For the setting, some thought that the starkness was enhanced by use of no names with grim and brutal survival aspects. However references suggested that they were travelling south, to a warmer climate – to a coast, perhaps because sea water would regenerate them? Was it a symbol of life starting in sea?