Friday, March 16, 2007

A theory about p. 74 of The Road

Only read my theory in the comments if you have read the book!


3M said...

I have a theory about the paragraph on p. 74!!!! I just got the book in the mail. Could it be the mother talking?! I think it's the father remembering a conversation with the mother. The gun still has 3 shells, and the speaker sounds pessimistic--like she was.

More thoughts:
I thought that the people at the end were the "good people". But to me, it still wasn't a "happy" ending. They would still face hunger and untold dangers.

The ending, though not "happy", was one of hope. Without hope, what reason do we have to go on living? That was why the boy's mother committed suicide. She had no hope. The father did, or at least enough to be unable to kill his son or himself. If he didn't have hope, I believe the story would have ended with that very scenario.

I believe the father did believe in God. He demonstrated this when he said that God gave him the job to take care of the boy.

As I said in my update, I listened to this on CD. While it was a good reading, I felt I must "really read" it to get the full impact of the book.

March 16, 2007 8:10 PM

kookiejar said...

I'm going to have to go back to the library and get the book again (or maybe, *gasp* buy a copy of my own). Your theory seems totally plausible.

You make an interesting point about the father having enough hope about the future to keep living. Maybe there were hints of hope hidden throughout the book, like the business about the brook trout that Ariel mentioned in her review. Sometimes people have to search long and hard to find hope.

I enjoy these discussions. So much fun to peel away the layers of great books to find what lies beneath the surface.

Pour of Tor said...

Argh! I wish that I hadn't returned the book to the library so that I could reread that paragraph again! Curses!

I think that is a REALLY intriguing theory, especially given the "3 shells" detail. Here is what I wish I had the book in front of me to determine - in what way is the mother commenting on these events that happened after she died? (They did happen after she died, right?) Does that mean that the main narration is the "father's voice" (although it is told in a 3rd person semi-omniscient voice)? What does this tell us about the end of the book, which occurs after he has died? (My inclination, as I say in other conversations elsewhere on the blog, is to view the ending, and perhaps the whole novel, as a "hopeful story with a happy ending" told by the father. And I think that "happy ending" is a phrase that only holds true given the unadulteratedly grim nature of their lives.)

Wendy said...

I think the voice on page 74 is the father speaking - because he refers to "she walked away" which I took to be the mother. This was such an odd passage because McCarthy completely abandoned his third person "voice" and stuck in this first person narration. I need to think about what that means.

I found this to be a spiritual novel on many levels. I think I need a few days to absorb what I read.

Dewey said...

About whether the father believes in God or not: I wondered that too, while reading. I read an interview with McCarthy in which the interviewer asked him if HE believes in God, and he said (paraphrased) that it depends which day you ask him. I had already developed the same impression of the father in this book, so it made sense to me.