Sunday, December 1, 2013
In The Road, Cormac McCarthy uses memory to show how difficult reliving the past is for the main characters, while at the same time how they must leave it behind to survive in this new world. Early in the book the man and the boy return to the house the man lived in during his childhood. initially the boy is scared to enter the house, but is more scared to be left on his own. Cormac uses different language to show the difference of sight with memory than without. The man sees the house "All much as he'd remembered it. The rooms empty... the same cast-iron coal-grate in the small fireplace" (pg 26). However the boy has no memories to relive and sees the house as it is in this new world. He sees "The pine paneling was gone from the walls leaving just the furring strips....small cones of damp plaster standing in the floor" (pg 27). After a tour of the house the child wants to go and the man responds "It's all right. We shouldn't have come" (pg 27). The Father realizes that they trip was more for him than for anything. Its his clinging that puts them off track and he realizes that he has to leave the past where it is to focus on surviving the future. Another example of them leaving the past behind is when the mans wife leaves them to commit suicide. On the morning after she leaves "When they were packed and ready to set out upon the road he turned... and he said: 'she's gone isn't she'? And he said: 'Yes, She is" (pg 58). This suggests that they tried not to dwell on the past and understood that they have to leave the past in the past. Cormac uses memory to shows that it is very difficult to forgot the past, but that you must to survive the challenges ahead of you.