Timothy Wang, John Sanders, and Mikalai Hubarevich
English 12, P.2
4 November 2012
A Study in Human Nature
Those that should survive an apocalyptic event would face a terrible struggle for survival. The principle of survival of the fittest would be one of the only things keeping individuals alive; people would have to resort to cannibalism and to killing each other as a food source to increase their longevity. In The Road, McCarthy examines the essence of human nature in a post-apocalyptic environment and ventures into the darkest corners of the human subconscious, showing that when an individual is forced to live in some of the hardest conditions imaginable, it is human nature to do anything to survive. In this desolate world, the individuals lose their morals and values and become remorseless and apathetic. The man and the boy encounter an old man along their journey to the sea. There is a glimpse of the values lost by most of the survivors as he says, “I don’t have anything…You can look if you want.”(162) The old man instantly assumed that the man and the boy were there to try and steal his supplies, leaving him with nothing. When they offered the old man food, the old man says, “what do I have to do” (166) as if he would have to do something in return for the kindness. The old man’s reaction to kindness reflects the state of the social values and morals in this post-apocalyptic world, proving that things such as pure kindness and generosity no longer exist in this world. Trust is also a rare occurrence in this remnant of a society because morals are lost in individuals who will do anything to stay alive A main motif that McCarthy tries to portray is the benefits and the damages that mistrust can cause.. This motif is depicted when the man denies all existence of the child that the boy found. The man said, “ There is no one to see, do you want to die?”(85) The man is so terrified of the people on the road that he would abandon a helpless child...
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