Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Frequent Contributor
bentley
Posts: 2,509
Registered: ‎01-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel - Small Road


PaulFrancis wrote:


Fozzie wrote:

solittletime wrote:
I kept picturing a small road but wouldn't it have to be a large freeway for them to keep finding the same road after trips inland looking for food?



There is a passage where they look at their map (which is in pieces). The man tells the boy they are taking a state road.




I mostly envisioned state (two lane) roads because they came upon towns right beside the road. Also, it would generally take much longer to get out of sight and hide along an interstate.

Do you believe there is significance to the fact that the original intention is to travel south and they appear ultimately to head more east than south?

Paul




That is why I thought they were on 75 and possibly had gone into Georgia etc...I thought that they had started in Chattanooga (because of some of the obvious clues)..but I still was trying to glean from PaulH was his take was on his theory and try to follow it to its logical conclusion or not. Personally, I believe they were headed south and that McCarthy used images from his life but not necessarily placing them where he physically grew up.
Frequent Contributor
Mariposa
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel

While McCarthy doesn’t say outright where the novel takes place, he does drop some substantial clues to its possible locale. Where do you think the father and son are and where are they traveling to?

I think the reason McCarthy doesn't say outright where the novel takes place is because it is everywhere and nowhere. They are traveling south because they are cold. They are constantly cold. The setting is cold. The novel takes place where it is cold. No one is ever warm. No one is ever comfortable. It is a setting of discomfort and fear. It is a setting of darkness. States become irrelevant. They are stateless. They are without a home, without any kind of shelter, without all what we might consider basic necessities. This is survival in its most raw and elemental form.

Lizabeth
New User
Mescorn
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎04-12-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel

I have to agree in part, that the book was meant to be vauge about location and catastrophe. The main point I believe our author was making was --take a look at how poorly human kind acted. --Our natural instinct in horrible situations is to take care of ourselves only. steal, kill, destroy to ensure our own survival. It shows you the mans perspective, which is "take care of ourselves first, but do so at no risk to others." (remain the good guys) and the sons perspective, which is "help those around us. Share, bond, and protect". The son is the ray of hope, that natural innocence and trust that so easily gets lost and tainted as one ages, through experience. However, he is the exception here, because even though he has been living through a hell on earth, at such a young and inexpirenced age, his trust and innocence seems to grow stronger with each encounter and situation they come across. Though, back to the main point, I think it isnt really important how the earth was ravaged and turned to ash, or where they are at the starting point, but that its more important to focus on the human element. If the author spent too much time on the backdrop and changing locations, we would have lost the main focus. The man and son would have become supporting characters, and the enviornment would have taken the stage as main actors.

Just my opinion. :smileyhappy:
Contributor
PaulFrancis
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎04-10-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel

I agree that the setting is used to focus our attention on the relationship. The road symbolizing the ultimate journey.

I often felt that McCarthy was exploring the meaning of life as the story developed. Interaction between people is paired down to a bare minimum. By using a father and son he even removes the element of procreation to help us see the common ground that brings people together; the social glue.

No physical item is introduced in the story that can sustain the father and son (human kind)for very long. Only the metaphysical has the capability to sustain indefinitely. The search for warmth, or goodness, is what drives this man and boy. The man teaches that finding the good guys (or avoiding the cannibals)is essential for survival and the son knows the good guys exist. The final message shows us the only way for the human race to survive and create a world worth living in is to act based on goodness.

Paul
Wordsmith
Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel - East vs. South



PaulFrancis wrote:


Do you believe there is significance to the fact that the original intention is to travel south and they appear ultimately to head more east than south?

Paul



I didn't notice any significance. How do you know they went more east than south? The goal was to get to warmer weather before winter and to get to the ocean. I got the impression that the whole country was a wasteland, so I don't think their exact course mattered.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
Contributor
PaulFrancis
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎04-10-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel - East vs. South



Fozzie wrote:


PaulFrancis wrote:


Do you believe there is significance to the fact that the original intention is to travel south and they appear ultimately to head more east than south?

Paul



I didn't notice any significance. How do you know they went more east than south? The goal was to get to warmer weather before winter and to get to the ocean. I got the impression that the whole country was a wasteland, so I don't think their exact course mattered.






Laura,

You are correct. There aren't many good clues to help out on the direction they travel. They never get to a latitude that's much warmer. Warmer weather probably does not exist. Maybe it doesn't matter either, but when you are facing east you get to see the dawn of a new day.

Paul
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel


PaulH wrote:
While McCarthy doesn’t say outright where the novel takes place, he does drop some substantial clues to its possible locale. Where do you think the father and son are and where are they traveling to?


Wow, you guys all know a lot about where the author is from and also that part of the country. I havent a clue about those areas. All I know that I thought from reading it was that they were somewhere there were mountains, so not midwest until you get to the rocky mountains and i didnt think there, so thought of the mountains closer to east coast like tennessee or something. Then I always figured they were headed for the gulf actually and found it, and then went east from there. None of it sounded like Interstates, more like state highways and I think there are more of those going north and south than Interstates. Here in the midwest and also out west, a lot of interstates run east/west not so much north south. Of course there are some but you know what I mean. It always sounded to me like they were on two lane blacktops to me, state hiways or country roads and I think it would also be needed to find towns sooner too, to look for food. You can travel a very long ways on an interstate between towns, but most state roads have them about as often as you hear him talking about. When they would talk about walking on the roads, or some who slept on the roads or getting the cart over to the side and tipping it over to not be seen, it just sounds like two lane roads to me. I do think south was to the Gulf and I think they did hit the Gulf, regardless of where they started. With them already traveling as the book starts, who knows how long they already have been traveling to guess a starting point.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Distinguished Bibliophile
Paul_Hochman
Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎03-23-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel

The following is from Knoxville's Metro Pulse, Best of 2007 issue:

Best Depiction of Dead Knoxvillians

Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

Nobody can describe dead folks nearly as well as Cormac McCarthy, who used his hometown as a setting for some of his earliest novels, but hasn't returned since Suttree . When he finally returned, he depicted Knoxville as a dead, nameless city. It was surely part of what earned him the Pulitzer after all these years. ( Jack Neely )
Distinguished Wordsmith
maxcat
Posts: 4,012
Registered: ‎11-01-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel

I'm guesing Tennessee myself. I have never read any of McCarthy's book, but they must be somewhere in the Smoky Mtn. They're heading south and I can't remember if the man had a map or not. He had one but may have lost it. There haven't been any references to where in the South they are going. Myrtle Beach is not south but to the east. Maybe Florida, somewhere where the man thinks it's warmer. He may be in for a surprise as, if it was a nuclear disaster or a meteor strike, all the planet's climate would change dramatically and he may find Florida just as cold.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
Contributor
bigkahuna
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎09-01-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Early Reading: The Setting of the Novel

If you vist CM's website and go to the forums you'll see a  link that maps out the route according to one poster. He even includes pictures of the salient landmarks. A great armchair sojorn. My question is over how long a time period does the story cover from the start of their journey to the Father's death? bk

Users Online
Currently online: 10 members 202 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: