The Road is an accurate symbolic representation of what life is like in 2021
In The Road, Cormac McCarthy uses lots of symbolism to depict a cold post-world, where evolution has soared chaotically into cruelty and anguish. Various symbols can be related to our current life, 2021. There are challenges that human life is facing in 2021, for instance, the COVID-19 pandemic, which is relatable to the challenges of life the man and the boy went through in their adventure. As the man and the boy struggle to survive, the writer uses the motif of greyness, with various repetitions of the dichotomous symbols of fire and light, representing hope and life, and ashes, death, to explore the ambiguities of morality faced in the quest for survival.
McCarthy examines the distinctions between the “good people” and the “bad people.” When they faced one man struck by lightning, the boy wanted to “help him,” but “they went on. The boy was crying…we have nothing to give him” (McCarthy 50). The boy’s “crying” to “help him” raises the issue of morality, to help or leave the man; however, his generous and sensitive plea clanks against his father’s cold logic that “to give” something to the man meant they sacrifice of their limited survival chances. This is evident in our current setting, where some countries or individuals decide not to assist others because they think they will not be enough to help themselves. A good example is with impacts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While touring Gatsby’s house, Nick notices that “his bedroom is the simplest room of all” (Fitzgerald, 91). Gatsby’s house is reflective of Gatsby’s flamboyant exterior persona put on to attract the likes and approval of Daisy, as well as the image he conveys to the rest of the world. It is related to human life in 2021 because there are some wealthy people, but they cannot share it with less fortunate people in society. Developing countries have not vaccinated even 1% of their population, yet other countries have vaccinated almost every adult. These countries are suffering at developed countries that keep these vaccines for themselves and their people.
McCarthy also utilizes a lighter grey motif and symbol of light to evaluate empathetic love as a foundation for a healthier balance between self-preservation and morals. This is evident in 2021 human life, especially when there are calamities around the world. Concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a show of compassion worldwide, specifically to India and Italy that were severely hit by the virus. Believers around the world were praying for the safety of everyone from these countries. Letters of hope and love were sent and flowers to the patients and medical personnel in various medical centres. People were sharing love and hoped that there would be life after the pandemic. We can relate this empathetic love with the Gatsby story.
Fitzgerald writes, “in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold colored tie, hurried in” (Fitzgerald, 84). The white represents the innocence and purity he possesses in his efforts of persuading Daisy to fall in love with him again. The gold and silver are representative of his opulent wealth, which he is ready to share with Daisy if he falls in love with him. McCarthy writes looking at the “vague gray light in the west” and the ashes of the snow, the father returns to his “tiny paradise trembling in the orange light” and admits “he’d been ready to die and now he wasn’t going to” (McCarthy 143-144).
Another issue humanity is trying to fight off in 2021 is remaining moral and caring in a world full of evil. This was also faced by the two major characters in The Roadbook. The writer states that while moving between the “fires” of life and “ashes” of death, the father and his son continue to make ends meet yet struggle not to taint their ethics. With “a small pile of tinder” in the “casket black” night, the man reassures his son that “we’re the good guys… we’re carrying the fire” (McCarthy 129). Nonetheless, some of the actions they commit, such as the father’s murder of a cannibal, dispute their questionable personification of the “good guys.” The father’s words of “carrying the fire,” bounded against both the dwindling “tinder” and intruding “casket black,” but it also arouses the symbolism of greyness and raises the question of what extent is the father and the son is the “good” people. Some people in our current society are preaching water and drinking wine.
During the day, people pretend to be caring, but when we look on the other side, they are planning how to backstab us. By depicting the greyness through the distorted faintness of the fire amongst the darkness, McCarthy thus explores the indistinct separations between the “good” and the bad. 10.
In The old man and the sea, Hemingway writes that the marlin symbolizes the ideal opponent. In a world in which “everything kills everything else in some way,” Hemingway, 105). People in society can sacrifice other souls to get anything they wish for.
In conclusion, the use of light, ash, fire, and the motif of greyness explore the uncertainties of the good and the bad and show love and hope as a basis to reconcile the need to survive with the urge to preserve our morals. The story can be related to current humanity, mainly because of what is happening across the world. Therefore, McCarthy succeeds in highlighting the metaphorical expression of reality in 2021 as far as human life is concerned.