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The Road – part two!

April 28, 2009

Words can’t describe how much The Road has affected me. Yesterday’s post got some of my feelings out but I kept getting interrupted so it was hard to focus and pinpoint exactly what to say.

Tonight, I’ve just returned from my local book group, where we were discussing the novel and a few more points and themes came back to me.

The book has obvious biblical references such as the man’s reminder to the son ‘to carry the fire’, which to me signified in spiritual terms the anointing of the Holy Spirit or God’s power or even the purity that is to come with a baptism of fire. There is the sense that the father is instructing his son to carry on the goodness he has taught him, to maintain his humanity at all costs, to in the words of Ecclesiastes ‘to remember his Creator in the days of his youth’.

Speaking of maintaining humanity, what do you do when the end of the world so to speak has occured and you are one of few people left on the earth and there is hardly and food to eat. Nothing grows any longer, the animals have all died, what little you can scavenge is no enough to sustain your survival. Do you then turn towards eating humans when you find them? Are you then inhuman for doing so when all you are trying to do is follow your very human instinct to survive? A particularly harrowing scene is where discover the remains of a newborn baby on a spitroast.  A few scenes earlier they had hiden from group of travellers which included a pregnant woman. As sick and horrifying a scene as it was, I reminded that in 2 Kings it tells of two women during the siege of Samaria who made a pact to eat their children. After the first mother cooked her child the second mother ate it but refused to reciprocate by cooking her own child. In The Road however, it is implied that the woman has been deliberatlely made pregnant so as to produce food. She is in effect being bred like cattle. Easy to see why this book is so haunting.

Finally the redemptive ending, the book ends with hope and salvation. Some may feel that it was a bit of a cop out after so much horror and bleakness but I feel that it was a rightful ending, perhaps not so much the manner of it but the fact that the man achieved what he set out to do and the sense that the world and what was left of mankind could somehow begin anew.

An upcoming movie of the novel is due for release sometime this year http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0898367/. It stars Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron and Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire) among others. Judging from the cast, I think it may well be  as powerful a film as the novel.

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From → Books, Film

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