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The Road
by McCarthy, Cormac
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1. McCarthy has a very distinct writing style. How does this affect the story? What features of his style stood out to you?

2. The two main characters in The Road are male. Would McCarthy have had to approach the story differently if he had chosen to make them female? How would a change in gender affect the overall feel of the book? Would you have liked it more (or less)?

3. The world that McCarthy creates in this book is bleak and frightening. How does he go about producing those feelings in the reader? Did you find it to be believable? Do you see our society as being capable of the savagery depicted in the novel?

4. It is quite apparent that the man and his son feel they are part of a very small group of 'good guys.' The man is suspicious of everyone they encounter, and in most instances, he has good reason to be. What do you think plays the biggest part in which road you would take? What would make someone either a 'good guy' or a 'bad guy'in that type of postapocalyptic world?

5. The reason behind the apocalypse is never truly revealed. What do you think happened? What clues did McCarthy provide that helped you come to that conclusion?

6. What makes the relationship between the boy and his father so powerful and poignant? What do they feel for each other? How do they maintain their affection for and faith in each other in such brutal conditions?

7. McCarthy's work often dramatizes the opposition between good and evil, with evil sometimes emerging triumphant. What does The Road ultimately suggest about good and evil? Which force seems to have greater power in the novel?

8. To what destination are the man and the boy journeying? In what sense are they "pilgrims"? What, if any, is the symbolic significance of their journey?

9. Why do you think McCarthy chose not to name the man and the boy? How does that choice affect the readers relationship with the characters?

10. As the father is dying, he tells his son he must go on in order to "carry the fire." When the boy asks if the fire is real, the father says, "It's inside you. It was always there. I can see it" [p. 279]. What is this fire? Why is it so crucial that they not let it die?

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