The Road is arguably Cormac McCarthy?s masterpiece, focused on reinventing the clichés found in post-apocalyptic novels that modern audiences have become accustom to. The Road has been critically acclaimed and is considered one of the best-written books of the last 25 years, leading McCarthy to win the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for his contribution to literature. This novel was dedicated to his son, John Francis McCarthy, who was a source of endless inspiration to his father, the author. Many of the scenes that the reader experiences, were influenced by a journey the author had with his son through the Texas countryside and the way he would envision the relation between a father and son in a world where humanity strives for survival.
There is nothing outlandish to be found in McCarthy's novel, nothing that could not happen to mankind in the future. An unnamed and uncertain cataclysm turns the world into a vast, ruinous wasteland because of a huge apocalyptic fire that has obliterated life in nearly all its forms. In this gray, desolate and inhospitable setting, two human beings are seeking for some way to fit into this new word. Their prized possession is a supermarket trolley in which they have crammed their remaining belongings. The two, a father and his son, are among the last survivors of a world that has lost any meaning, a world with an uncertain future and a past that in comparison seems a fairy tale, a past that the child is too young to remember. The father's sole duty is to take care of his son and try to get both of them to a more hospitable part of the country. In order to protect his child, the man pushes the limits of his body and soul until the point where it becomes unbearable.
McCarthy's novel appears to be a critique against consumerism and a society that has been caught up in the whirl of money and greed, where true human values ??are forgotten. The child, unattached to the memories of a pleasant and comfortable past, is the only being that can draw on feelings of humanity. He can feel mercy and compassion, even if these are notions which no longer exist and are unsuitable for the new world. These traits may seem to be forced and almost unnatural in the absolutely terrible conditions that the child has to endure as he grows up, but sometimes the light can be found in the darkest places. Somehow, in McCarthy's novel, the unshaken faith in the purest humanity is represented by the boy who is a rare example of goodness despite the ugliness and despair that surrounds him on a daily basis.
After all, The Road is not a novel about how man survives after an apocalyptic event but a novel about how humanity survives. It is a redefinition of good and evil.