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McCarthy's Handling of Time in 'The Road'
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| Words: 1660 | Submitted: 12-Mar-2012
99.2% | Number of pages: 3 | Filetype: Word .doc
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DescriptionAn essay about how McCarthy manipulates time in order to create pace and atmosphere
Explore the different ways McCarthy uses time in ‘The Road’ and analyse its significance.
Time in itself is a key theme of McCarthy’s ‘The Road’; time is synonymous with the idea of journey as well as being a primary feature of the symbol of survival. McCarthy uses time to act in as discourse markers along the journey alerting the reader to times of hope and conversely a time of despair. McCarthy uses the progression of time in a manner of ways: he manipulates the seasons and whether to forebode events to come, time and sequence connectives are used to travel the reader forward to individual days and the expansion and contraction of time are used to emphasis significant events and allow the reader to understand the two protagonists. Similarly the employment certain of dreams and flashbacks are crucial in creating contrast between the world now and the world before the apocalyptic event.
The marking of seasons and whether help the reader to visualise the change in the landscape and therefore alludes to the future of the main characters. By telling the reader it is winter or that it is “dark beyond darkness” or days are “only slightly less black” forces the reader to understand the barren situation the pair faces. Progressively worsening as the novel goes on, indicates the deterioration of their circumstances, every month seems to grow colder and nothing seems to progress. McCarthy uses this to help the reader understand the father’s want to move south as we realise he wants to get himself and his son to warmer climate. Every time the novel signals the reader to the cold or wet we remember how long and strenuous their travel to the South is and will continue to be as well as little there chance of survival is. As McCarthy leads us further into the novel the inability to pinpoint the particular month or season is emphatic of the characters isolation from the world they’re in, as well as the confusion this world brings them, it could stand to mirror the father’s increasing doubt in the world and morality or the sons increasing impassiveness to life.
The prominence of moving from day to night (or waking to sleeping) is important in creating the monotony of day to day life for the characters because there are no specific events per day, this helps to strengthen the feeling of no progression even though the reader knows the time is continuing. This seems to have a greater impact because we want the pair to succeed that knowing they are getting nowhere as time moves forward makes us so unnerved and anxious as to how what the outcome of the story will be. ...
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Brilliant. Informative and straight to the point.
Reviewed 332 weeks ago