The Road by Cormac McCarthy - Key notes (pages 37 - 55)

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Key Notes

Significance of Key Events (Close reading)

The penguin toy (page 37)

It is easier to access the boy's point of view through the account of the dream - links with Freudian psychology, perhaps.

"It was really scary" - strange because he isn't scared of/dreaming about rapists/barbarians, because that's all he's grown up with. The childhood innocence that's usually in a nightmare is removed because the new apocalyptic world has tarnished his dreams.

The waterfall (page 39)

The father teaching the son to swim is an ordinary father-son experience, presented in an extraordinary world, and is perhaps necessary in equipping the son with survival skills.

"The boy so thin it stopped his heart" and "ghostly pale and shivering" are grotesque images that indicate the severity of the situation that they're in.

The beauty/purity of the waterfall is shown, but there is hidden menace because there is danger: the boy could drown/die.

The mushrooms (page 40-41)

  • When they find the 'morels', it shows how mushrooms have become more significant than ever before purely because they have nothing else
  • "alien-looking" - the only thing they've ever seen growing, which could give hope to the man and son
  • Mushrooms can be poisonous, which shows an underlying danger, which is why they have to be cautious. However when the father deems the mushrooms as safe, it could imply that he is a former medical/survival expert.
  • When the father tells the boy to try the mushrooms, he is providing him with new experiences, in order to develop the son's opinions, which prepares him for his independent life after the father dies.

The tractor (page


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