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Paul_Hochman
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The Title as Metaphor

Does McCarthy’s choice for the title suggest something other than the physical location of the plot?
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bentley
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Re: The Title as Metaphor

All I can think of is Robert Frost's poem: (synonymous with the Road of Life - from birth to death with all of the the choices and decisions we make along the way)

ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference


Robert Frost
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: The Title as Metaphor

I think the proverbial "road of life" is a key in the title, and it's most definitely a "road less traveled" for the father and son. I'm wondering if the road of progress is a telling sign? In this world, has man/woman's progress hypothetically sent the world off it's axis?
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bentley
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)


PaulH wrote:
I think the proverbial "road of life" is a key in the title, and it's most definitely a "road less traveled" for the father and son. I'm wondering if the road of progress is a telling sign? In this world, has man/woman's progress hypothetically sent the world off it's axis?




That is what I am also thinking now...and the road may be leading to the end of mankind. I hope this novel doesn't keep me awake at night..LOL..the imagery is very real. He is an absolutely outstanding writer though.

Are all of his other works as chilling?
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)

Pretty much, Bentley. McCarthy and the macabre go hand in hand. You mentioned nightmares earlier. I actually had a few bad dreams after reading Blood Meridian. Some of its imagery is just plain gruesome. The Road to has its share as you'll see once you get further along.
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bentley
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)



PaulH wrote:
Pretty much, Bentley. McCarthy and the macabre go hand in hand. You mentioned nightmares earlier. I actually had a few bad dreams after reading Blood Meridian. Some of its imagery is just plain gruesome. The Road to has its share as you'll see once you get further along.




I will be forewarned. Only joking concerning potential nightmares; but do think that if you read some of the book before retiring there is a significant possibility that you would still be thinking about that imagery when you fell asleep.

I am about half way through the book now.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)



bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:
Pretty much, Bentley. McCarthy and the macabre go hand in hand. You mentioned nightmares earlier. I actually had a few bad dreams after reading Blood Meridian. Some of its imagery is just plain gruesome. The Road to has its share as you'll see once you get further along.




I will be forewarned. Only joking concerning potential nightmares; but do think that if you read some of the book before retiring there is a significant possibility that you would still be thinking about that imagery when you fell asleep.

I am about half way through the book now.




Have you reached the part where the son spots another boy (around page 70 or so)?
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bentley
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)



PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:
Pretty much, Bentley. McCarthy and the macabre go hand in hand. You mentioned nightmares earlier. I actually had a few bad dreams after reading Blood Meridian. Some of its imagery is just plain gruesome. The Road to has its share as you'll see once you get further along.




I will be forewarned. Only joking concerning potential nightmares; but do think that if you read some of the book before retiring there is a significant possibility that you would still be thinking about that imagery when you fell asleep.

I am about half way through the book now.




Have you reached the part where the son spots another boy (around page 70 or so)?




Yes, I did..I have now finished the book. Where are you in your reading? I do not want to say anything else about that spotting unless you have completed the novel.

This novel actually made me feel extremely uncomfortable. A very powerful work although to me not really uplifting. It does show the strength of the human spirit especially when it is driven by love and unselfish acts.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)



bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:
Pretty much, Bentley. McCarthy and the macabre go hand in hand. You mentioned nightmares earlier. I actually had a few bad dreams after reading Blood Meridian. Some of its imagery is just plain gruesome. The Road to has its share as you'll see once you get further along.




I will be forewarned. Only joking concerning potential nightmares; but do think that if you read some of the book before retiring there is a significant possibility that you would still be thinking about that imagery when you fell asleep.

I am about half way through the book now.




Have you reached the part where the son spots another boy (around page 70 or so)?




Yes, I did..I have now finished the book. Where are you in your reading? I do not want to say anything else about that spotting unless you have completed the novel.

This novel actually made me feel extremely uncomfortable. A very powerful work although to me not really uplifting. It does show the strength of the human spirit especially when it is driven by love and unselfish acts.




Uncomfortable is an apt description. Many, if not all, of McCarthy's book have left me feeling that way.

I'm well into my second reading of the novel, Bentley, so feel free to fire away about the early parts at this point. Let's just try to stick to the first 100 pages, while other participants continue to read.

I see the other boy as a significant difference, whether he's real or not, between the father and son. It's certainly a dividing point between our two main characters. McCarthy even goes so far to end the scene (pg. 73) at a "crossroads". How did you feel about this scene?
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bentley
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)


PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:
Pretty much, Bentley. McCarthy and the macabre go hand in hand. You mentioned nightmares earlier. I actually had a few bad dreams after reading Blood Meridian. Some of its imagery is just plain gruesome. The Road to has its share as you'll see once you get further along.




I will be forewarned. Only joking concerning potential nightmares; but do think that if you read some of the book before retiring there is a significant possibility that you would still be thinking about that imagery when you fell asleep.

I am about half way through the book now.




Have you reached the part where the son spots another boy (around page 70 or so)?




Yes, I did..I have now finished the book. Where are you in your reading? I do not want to say anything else about that spotting unless you have completed the novel.

This novel actually made me feel extremely uncomfortable. A very powerful work although to me not really uplifting. It does show the strength of the human spirit especially when it is driven by love and unselfish acts.




Uncomfortable is an apt description. Many, if not all, of McCarthy's book have left me feeling that way.

I'm well into my second reading of the novel, Bentley, so feel free to fire away about the early parts at this point. Let's just try to stick to the first 100 pages, while other participants continue to read.

I see the other boy as a significant difference, whether he's real or not, between the father and son. It's certainly a dividing point between our two main characters. McCarthy even goes so far to end the scene (pg. 73) at a "crossroads". How did you feel about this scene?




About the scene:

That is on my pages 84, 85, etc. There seem to be "dividing points" along the way which appear to be similar. The boy wants to share without an understanding of the consequences and even when he has knowledge of the consequences is not always in the same survival mode as his father. He still wants to love his neighbor and doesn't fear everyone as the father does. The boy I think sees himself in the little boy and fears possibly being on his own and possibly wants the companionship of somebody else his age who he can still have fun with and remain a child in a frightful world. Maybe seeing the little boy and knowing that there was someone out there like himself might have or would have given him a sense of hope in his future. He says that he is afraid for that little boy much as if he is afraid for himself. The boy still wants to go back and try to do the right thing by the little boy and the father does not. The father senses that if there was a little boy he is being taken care of by others. The little boy feels alone in a "frightful adult alien world".

I have reread the book as well. You see so many different things with each rereading.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)



bentley wrote:

PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:


bentley wrote:


PaulH wrote:
Pretty much, Bentley. McCarthy and the macabre go hand in hand. You mentioned nightmares earlier. I actually had a few bad dreams after reading Blood Meridian. Some of its imagery is just plain gruesome. The Road to has its share as you'll see once you get further along.




I will be forewarned. Only joking concerning potential nightmares; but do think that if you read some of the book before retiring there is a significant possibility that you would still be thinking about that imagery when you fell asleep.

I am about half way through the book now.




Have you reached the part where the son spots another boy (around page 70 or so)?




Yes, I did..I have now finished the book. Where are you in your reading? I do not want to say anything else about that spotting unless you have completed the novel.

This novel actually made me feel extremely uncomfortable. A very powerful work although to me not really uplifting. It does show the strength of the human spirit especially when it is driven by love and unselfish acts.




Uncomfortable is an apt description. Many, if not all, of McCarthy's book have left me feeling that way.

I'm well into my second reading of the novel, Bentley, so feel free to fire away about the early parts at this point. Let's just try to stick to the first 100 pages, while other participants continue to read.

I see the other boy as a significant difference, whether he's real or not, between the father and son. It's certainly a dividing point between our two main characters. McCarthy even goes so far to end the scene (pg. 73) at a "crossroads". How did you feel about this scene?




About the scene:

That is on my pages 84, 85, etc. There seem to be "dividing points" along the way which appear to be similar. The boy wants to share without an understanding of the consequences and even when he has knowledge of the consequences is not always in the same survival mode as his father. He still wants to love his neighbor and doesn't fear everyone as the father does. The boy I think sees himself in the little boy and fears possibly being on his own and possibly wants the companionship of somebody else his age who he can still have fun with and remain a child in a frightful world. Maybe seeing the little boy and knowing that there was someone out there like himself might have or would have given him a sense of hope in his future. He says that he is afraid for that little boy much as if he is afraid for himself. The boy still wants to go back and try to do the right thing by the little boy and the father does not. The father senses that if there was a little boy he is being taken care of by others. The little boy feels alone in a "frightful adult alien world".

I have reread the book as well. You see so many different things with each rereading.




I'm wondering if there really was another boy? Maybe, as you hinted, he's seeing a mirror image of himself, alone in the future. Could this scene literally be showing us the son's ultimate fear and fate?
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bentley
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Re: The Title as Metaphor (Possible Spoiler)

PaulH wrote:


I'm wondering if there really was another boy? Maybe, as you hinted, he's seeing a mirror image of himself, alone in the future. Could this scene literally be showing us the son's ultimate fear and fate?




I think by the time you reach the end of the novel you have sorted that out..I think I did. But when you are reading that passage above at that point in the book..you feel that the boy did not see anything because you are listening to the perspective of the father. From that perspective my feeling at that time was that this was another form of wishful hallucination because of the dire circumstances and that the son was fearful and was worried about his circumstances alone if his father died or something happened to his Dad. There was that point where he watched how his mother handled the circumstances and that would unnerve any child. I think there are many discussions about death and endings throughout the novel..the novel really has that as one of the main themes. There are so many parallel examples of the death of humanness as well as the planet dies. All of the above contributed to my feelings of being uncomfortable and out of sorts after reading the novel. You just do not want to believe that this book or this outcome for the world or mankind is possible. The boy does not doubt in any way what he has seen at any time. He is certain while his father is the doubting Thomas. At least that is my take at this point. The novel does leave a lot up to the reader to interpret including the cause of the catastrophe.
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Skyler97
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Re: The Title as Metaphor

I think it sounds similar to "The Road to Perdition" myself
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bentley
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Re: The Title as Metaphor

Perdition means damnation or to hell. I don't see this as a road to hell or damnation for the boy.

In fact, just the opposite.
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LuvReading
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Re: The Title as Metaphor

My thought is that McCarthy kept the title simple and profound, therefore leaving it open for interpretation. There seems to be many ways to interpret the title; the suggestions you've made are good ones. Perhaps he will reveal his thoughts in the interview (I can't wait to see it).

Tammie
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Skyler97
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Re: The Title as Metaphor



bentley wrote:
Perdition means damnation or to hell. I don't see this as a road to hell or damnation for the boy.

In fact, just the opposite.




I meant there are similarities to the Graphic Novel "Road to Perdition" which was turned into a Spielberg Movie.

"Rock Island, Illinois -- 1929. Michael O'Sullivan is a good father and a family man -- and also the chief enforcer for John Looney, the town's Irish Godfather of crime. As Looney's "Angel of Death," O'Sullivan has done the bidding of Chicago gangsters Al Capone and Frank Nitti as well -- but when a gangland execution spells tragedy for the O'Sullivan family, a grieving father and his adolescent son find themselves on a winding road fo treachery, revenge, and revelation."
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bentley
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Re: The Title as Metaphor


Skyler97 wrote:


bentley wrote:
Perdition means damnation or to hell. I don't see this as a road to hell or damnation for the boy.

In fact, just the opposite.




I meant there are similarities to the Graphic Novel "Road to Perdition" which was turned into a Spielberg Movie.

"Rock Island, Illinois -- 1929. Michael O'Sullivan is a good father and a family man -- and also the chief enforcer for John Looney, the town's Irish Godfather of crime. As Looney's "Angel of Death," O'Sullivan has done the bidding of Chicago gangsters Al Capone and Frank Nitti as well -- but when a gangland execution spells tragedy for the O'Sullivan family, a grieving father and his adolescent son find themselves on a winding road fo treachery, revenge, and revelation."




Yes, I saw the movie. But then again the son saw something he should not have seen and the father though a good father was into things that would lead to hell or damnation. It led to his death from what I can remember. There was a bond between the father and son in that movie if that is what you are referring to. But this son and this father were not exactly the same...though all humans in The Road were almost living an outlaw existence in an unlawful America. Anarchy at best. Interesting comment skyler..it was an interesting movie..a study of a father who did not want his son to follow in his footsteps. In contrast, (in The Road) this father wanted his son after he passed away to do everything exactly as they had done it...so that the son would survive. But I think he felt that the son would still survive even without him..whereas the father I don't think would have survived or have wanted to survive without his son. He said earlier that his son was his whole heart. He could not have lived without "his heart".
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vivico1
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Re: The Title as Metaphor


PaulH wrote:
Does McCarthy’s choice for the title suggest something other than the physical location of the plot?


I think there are several things the Title can mean. First I think its a good simple title for where the whole story mainly takes place, on a physical road, everything happens there so its good for that simple reason. Second, are the metaphors it could be, the road of life, the road we take in our relationships, this was definately a journey of discovery of the relationship of the father and son. Also it is a road that each take seperately too, tho they travel the road together, they do often see things in different ways as time goes on. Also the road of maybe eventual destruction, the road we may be forced to walk if indeed this was a nuclear catastrophe and we as a world continue in the ways we are going now. Mainly the road, is a journey. One that these two are forced to take and we take the journey with them, and it is a frightening one indeed.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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maxcat
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Re: The Title as Metaphor

Yes, the road of life...that's what this book is about. It's serves as a survival guide to life after a disaster. It serves as a theory based on what if... The father and boy are going down the road not knowing where they are going or if they will make it. It's a tossup as to whether they will find food and survive one more day and where they will sleep next.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Aunt_Beth_64
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Re: The Title as Metaphor

I just read through this conversation. I have nothing to add at this point because you have both expressed points I was thinking. I will say that I enjoyed eavesdropping on your conversation. :-)
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