Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Parallels, Contrasts and Questions: on our own- The Road

Page 73-93
Parallel: 
"They went on. The boy was crying. He kept looking back" (50).
"The boy would not stop crying and he would not stop looking back" (85). 
Explanation: The boy is scared, but he wants to help. On page 50, he sees a man fall to his death because he was struck by lightening. He wants to help him and go back and do everything he can. On page 85, he believes he saw a little boy behind a house. He wants to go back and help the little boy because he was alone. He wants to get him to walk with him and his father. When his father says he cannot help these people, he cries and cries and keeps looking back. He looks back to see how much further away he is getting from these hurt and lonesome people. It is interesting that in this harsh time a young boy is so willing to help everyone. He wants to, and it is important to recognize because it is a big part of his personality. 

Contrast:
"The boy didn't answer. You have to talk to me. Okay" (77).
"He tried to think of something to say but he could not" (88). 
Explanation: Throughout the journey, the boy has gotten very tired. Aside from the fact that he is emaciated, he is absolutely exhausted and he does not talk much anymore. On page 77, the father finally tells him to please talk to him because he is worried about him. The son is all the father has and he wants to make sure that he is okay. He wants the boy to continue talking to him because he has talked to the boy the whole time. Then on page 88, the father was out of words to say. The exhaustion hit him and he was at a loss of words and felt dull and numb. It contrasts what he said earlier because he is now doing what he told the boy not to do. The journey is getting harder and harder and they have to pull through and stay strong. 

Questions:
- What is the building they found? Does anyone live there? Is it dangerous? What does it suggest about the progress of their journey?
- Will the son try to find the little boy? Who is he? Is he a hallucination? 

Page 94-118
Parallel:
"Behind them came wagons drawn by slaves in harness and piled with goods of war..." (92).
"Chattel slaves had once trod those boards bearing food and drink on silver trays" (106). 
Explanation: Throughout the entire book, we get notions of a theme of the past vs. the present. McCarthy adds many different ideas and thoughts about the past to his novel. Whether it is of the idea of greek mythogy, or here, he adds ideas about slaves. It makes us wonder if history is repeating itself in the book. McCarthy makes it clear that the world is going back to how it was hundreds of years ago. It is an interesting theme that he adds. It comes up many different times giving the book a different twist than most novels. 

Contrast:
"He came up with a longhandled spade and hefted it in his hand. Come on, he said" (109). 
"For the love of God will you come on, his hissed" (111). 
Explanation: First the father is telling his son to follow him like nothing dangerous is going to happen. The dad is worried, but not that worried that their life is in danger. On the other hand, the boy is really scared, sensing that something bad will happen. After they open up the latch, they see many dead or emaciated bodies. These people are going to go after them and they want their help because they are going to get killed. Then on page 111, the dad becomes terrified knowing that him and his son have to run. They are in great danger and it is a complete personality shift, even in two pages. 

Questions:
- Does the dad keep hallucinating? 
- Are these people in the basement real? Are they hallucinations? Who are they? 

Page 119-135
Parallel:
"Because we're carrying the fire. Yes. Because we're carrying the fire" (83). 
"And we're carrying the fire. And we're carrying the fire. Yes" (129).
Explanation: This is one of my favorite lines in the entire book. It almost makes me happy. This line is important that it is repeated because to me it means that they have hope, and that they are carrying themselves to the south. They are carrying survival and hope. It is important that they keep going and they have each other and that is the only reason that they do not want to die right now. They are carrying each other's light and having hope to survive.

Contrast:
"He had to concentrate to stifle the cough and at the same time he was trying to listen" (112). 
"He was coughing and it got worse and it woke the child" (125). 
Explanation: For a long time, the father would try to keep himself from coughing. In my opinion, he did not want to scare the boy by him being sick, but I am not really sure why he did not cough when he had to. Finally on page 125, he coughed, and he coughed very loudly. It's significant because their condition is getting worse and they are coming closer and closer to death. They were well off with food and sleep at the beginning of their voyage and now they are in danger. The dad coughing just shows their danger and how they may not survive. 

Questions:
- What is the significance of the father coughing or not? What doe it say about him?
- Will they continue to be lucky and find food? like the apples?

Page 136-160
Parallel: 
"Blessed. He began to believe they had a chance" (114). 
"This is what the good guys do. They keep trying. They dont give up" (137). 
Explanation: Through the dangers of the journey, the father somehow remained positive. He always looked ahead of them into the light and really did not want to believe that they are going to die. He believes that they have a chance and that they cannot give up. On page 137, they find a house and he is telling his son that everything is going to be okay and that maybe with this house, they will get lucky. Sure enough, they did not give up and they got very lucky with finding food and shelter with the house they found in this next section. It is repeated how they do not want to give up because the father has always had hope and always will have hope. 

Contrast:
"We've got to eat" (108). 
"Crate upon crate of canned goods... What would you like for supper?" (138 & 140). 
Explanation: The father and his son were blessed by God. They were able to find enough food to last them a very long time. On page 108, the boys are walking along the road starving. They had not had any food or sleep in days and they are beginning to think that that was the end of them. They were starving and did not know what to do. On page 138 in this new house they see, they find a fully stocked kitchen with many canned foods and a stove for them to cook. They are overjoyed and it is so nice to see how they have gained back their hope. I believe that the father thinks they are now going to survive and that they will make it down to the south. 

Questions:
- Whose house is this, with all of the food?
- Did God give them this food?
- Is it real? We have talked about the idea of dreams vs. reality in the story, is this a dream or is it reality?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cormac McCarthy's Literal World

Cormac McCarthy creates a new world in his novel The Road. It is not your typical fantasty world that people usually create. In fact, it is the opposite. He portrays this new world with interesting, descriptive words throughout the pages of his novel. He uses many compound words, some that he even makes up. He makes up these words and uses incorrect punctuation possibly to display how this new world is destroyed and disorganized. But most importantly, he portrays this world as a dark, gray world after the harsh apocolypse has happened. "Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before" (3). There are very few times when it is sunny outside, or even light during the day. The world is very dark, and always dark. Dark because of the apocolypes and the ashes, but also dark because of the danger the father and his son are in throughout their journey down the road to the south. As readers, we know how McCarthy is trying to portray this dark and gray world because of the amount of times the words "dark", "gray", and "ash" come up on each page. "Dust and ash everywhere" (7). He repeats himself as the narrator many times most likely to get his point across, that this world is gray, always. And he successfully does get his point across because the readers do know how this world is supposed to be. Furthermore, since the world has been destroyed, the father believes that him and his son can start over in the south. He believes that they can create a new world again in the south where it is warm and maybe even light during the days. "With  the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south" (4). The father realizes that he has a long journey ahead of him with his son. He is willing to make this journey with hopes that he reaches this new world where he and his son can live peacefully and safely. Success and safety are their goals and in order to fulfill them, the father and the son need to change the dark world that McCarthy has described for the readers. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Picture it!

On page 50, we get a scene of the man and the boy encountering another male along the road. This man has been struck by lightening and is slowly falling to his own death. Both the father and the son watch him and all the father wants to do is keep on walking. 

"They went on. The boy was crying. He kept looking back." These short fragments are critical for a movie scene. They demonstrate quick action and many shots, instead of a slow long take. On the first fragment, the camera would start with a long shot of the road ahead of them. It would then quickly cut to a closeup of the crying boy on the second fragment. It would be a closeup to show his facial expression and then we would be able to decipher his feelings. Again the camera would cut to another long shot of the road behind them on the third fragment. This shot would be from the boys point of view as he keeps looking back to see how far away they are getting from the man they just saw die. All three of these shots would be quick and precise. They would all be taken at the same angle because no one here has any sort of power. 

"When they got to the bottom of the hill the man stopped and looked at him and looked back up the road." This sentence would be broken up into two shots. First we would see a quick medium shot of the man. It would be taken from the top of the hill and therefore it would be a low angle shot because we would be looking down at him. Next, it would cut to a medium shot of the man, to show his surroundings with boy next to him. In the same take, the camera would turn to the boy from the man's point of view so we can see the boy's face and the camera would then turn to the road in front of them again from the mans point of view. This will allow us to see what they are seeing and what they are walking towards. 

"The burned man had fallen over and at that distence you couldn't even tell what it was." Here, we would start by seeing a medium-long shot of the road behind the man and the boy. The take would slowly keep zooming out and drawing the focus and camera away from the man they just saw die. The camera would keep moving further away from the man because the father and his son are walking further and further away from him. 

"I'm sorry, he said. But we have nothing to give him. We have no way to help him. I'm sorry for what happened to him but we cant fix it." This shot would be a medium-closeup, over the shoulder shot of the father. We would look over the son's shoulder and see the father talking to the son while they continue walking and he says this. Then when the father says, "You know that, dont you?" the shot would cut to the son as another medium-closeup, over the shoulder shot so we can see the son's facial expression. 

"The boy stood there looking down. He nodded his head." While starting from the same medium-closeup, over the shoulder shot of the boy, as he nods, the camera would zoom in towards his face. This zoom would tell us that he experienced a realization and that he now knows that he will not be able to help this man he just saw die. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dreams and Reality

After reading the first part of The Road, there are many themes that have already become present. Dreams are portrayed as hallucinations or mirages to the man. They draw the man away from the terrible reality he is stuck in. The man and his son are traveling on a long road in order to escape the scary, dark world after the apocolypse. Because they struggle to survive, the father's dreams are the only positive aspects of his life. His dreams are forcing him to find a happy place while walking down a cold gray road hour after hour. Many of his dreams are of his wife. "In dreams his pale bride came to him out of a green and leafy canopy...her smile, her downturned eyes" (18). The fathers dreams are of color and happy thoughts. They take him away from the world he does not want to be stuck him. His dreams take him back to when he first got married to his wife, a very happy and different time in his life. "From daydreams on the road there was no walking" (18). He daydreams while he walks through the dead world and the dreams make his world livlier. These dreams are not only a very important aspect of the novel, they are a very important aspect of his life. They represent how he feels about his life, before the world ended. He had a good life, and now his life is survivng and keeping his son alive as well. They make contrast in the book and allow us as readers to read into the man's thoughts. 

The man and his son are opposites in this book. They have opposite personalitys with very different thoughts. While the father dreams of colors and happy thoughts, the son has nightmares. These nightmares represent their daily terrors as they try to escape this harsh world. Because he is a child, this is not the normal life the son would expect to live. He is young so he never really was able to do activities that most children. All he has are memories of the gray world he lives in. The boy will not be able to escape the world with past memories and his nightmares represent that. The boy tells his father, "I had a bad dream" (36). He continues by saying what it was. "I had this penguin that you wound up... And we were in that house we used to live in and it came around the corner but nobody had wound it up and it was really scary" (36). The boy repeatedly has bad dreams, his father just tells him to go back to bed and that everything will be okay. These nightmares could represent that everything might not be okay for the boy, he is young and scared and cannot think positively. Both dreams and nightmares of the boy and his father represent their fate in this scary world. Dreams are very important for both of them and different ways and they are very symbolic for readers, laying out the rest of the novel.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Road- Parallels and Contrasts

Page 15-31
Parallel:
"A single gray flake shifting down" (16). 
"The wet gray flakes twisting and falling out of nothing. Gray slush by the roadside" (16). 
"Beads of small gray ice strung along the light-wires overhead" (18). 
Explanation: Although the word gray is repeated many times, the part that surprises me is that gray snow is repeated so many times. Snow is white and it is very symbolic that McCarthy keeps repeating how this gray snow and ice is falling from the sky. Literally, the snow is gray because it is mixing with the ashes. But McCarthy is trying to make readers see how the world is gray and sad, how the man and the boy are left in the dark about the rest of their lives. 

Contrast:
"The city was mostly burned. No sign of life" (12). 
"Inside the barn three bodies haging from the rafters..." (17). 
Explanation: Throughout the whole beginning of the book, there is no sign of life besides the man and his son. The world has essentially ended and they do not know if there is any more life. On page 17, we as readers see our first sign of life, although the people are not living. It is still an important detail because it contrasts the cold, dark, lifeless world the man and his son have been walking through. McCarthy may want to portray to readers that maybe there is more life on the plant currently and it leaves us wondering. 

Page 32-53
Parallel:
"They'd piled a mat of dead hemlock boughs over the snow and they sat wrapped in their blankets..." (31). 
"The raw dead limbs of the rhododendron twisted and knotted and black" (39/40). 
Explanation: Throughout the book so far, these are plants that the man and the boy have camped in while in the mountains. Both of the plants are poisoness and it makes me wonder why they are always sitting in poisoness plants. Not only are the sitting and laying in them, they are eating them too. Also, it's not just one poisoness plant, but many. It really makes me think about what McCarthy is trying to tell us here. There are many ways to interpret it but I think that these plants are symbolizing the poisoness world the man and the boy are currently living in. There has been an apocolypse and there is no sign of life within miles of them. Their world is essentially over and there is a big possibility that they die on this journey to the south. I think it is interesting how the poisoness plants are surrounding them during this destroyed time in their life. They're lives are in danger, essentially making them poisoness. 

Contrast:
"Everything was alight" (31). 
Explanation: On page 31, we get this really striking line saying that the world was lit again. Up until this page there was no sign of light, everything was gray, black and dark. The snow was gray, all of their materials were gray and the days were gray as ever. This is the first time we may even see the word "light" and it really contrasts with the whole beginning of the book. It may even symbolize that the boy and his father are recieving hope from God and that they are going to make it through this hard, dangerous time. Then on page 32, McCarthy adds, "The nights now only slightly less black" (32). Although only slightly, the nights are less black and it gives readers hope that the nights will continue to get less black. I was excited when I read the line on page 31. It gave me many thoughts about how the book is going to play out, about if they are going to survive. 

Page 54-73
Parallel: 
"She was standing in the doorway in her nightwear, clutching the jamb, cradling her belly in one hand" (53). 
"I wish I was with my mom" (55). 
Explanation: Up until page 55, the mom was a dream of the fathers. She was in a flashback, no one had every spoke of her. On page 53, she has a hand on her stomach because she is pregnant with the son who is traveling with the father. It is very important to notice because that was a time when the world was normal and the whole world was not dead. Then on page 55 the boy wishes he was with his mom. It was the first time that he brought her up and it is crucial to notice how he also wishes he was dead, just like she did. It is a parallel between a mother and son relationship. 

Contrast:
"The boy was crying. He kept looking back....I'm sorry for what happened to him but we cant fix it" (50). 
"The boy was frozen with fear... The boy was terrified" (61). 
Explanation: When the man and the boy encountered other people, the boy had very different reactions. First on page 51, he was intrigued by this man who was struck by lightening. He couldn't keep his eyes off of him and he wanted to help him. He was not scared because he did not want the man to die and his father insisted on walking still. On page 61 when a group of men encounter them, the boy was absolutely terrified while running with his dad away from them in the woods. The dad knows they have to be on their own and cannot interact with anyone else, because they can be extremely dangerous. The boy had different reactions, and although different situations, it says something about his personality. Firstly, it shows how he has gotten more and more scared throughout the book. Lastly, it shows how he is willing to help people and doesn't want to run away from all scary situations, like his does in the one on page 61. 


Those important questions- The Road

Page 3-14
- Why was there an end to the world?
- On page 13, why did Cormac McCarthy decide to make the whole flashback story one paragraph?
- Why don't we get a true identity to the man and his son?

Page 15-31
- On page 15, why did McCarthy decide to use the word choice of making the dark autistic? How can the dark be autistic?
- Who is the woman that is repeated in the mans dreams and who he keeps thinking about?

Page 32-53
- Why are all of the plants they sit on or eat poisoness? What does it suggest about their journey?
- If the world has ended and everything and everyone is dead, why is the man so persistent about getting to the south? Is it solely for the weather?
- Why isn't the country called "The States" anymore? Is it suggesting de-americanization?
- Who is the other person, the man struck by lightening?

Page 54-73
- On page 56 in the father's flashback, what is the mom talking about with the gun? Has she killed someone? Who was she saying was going to kill her?
- Who are the people trying to kidnap the father and his son?
- Why has everything become more dangerous all of the sudden?