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October 24, 2012

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The narrative is in third person which distances the reader from getting emotionally attached to the characters because if it was first person there would be direct contact between character and reader creating a closer relationship. The narrator also uses scientific language such as "lodestone" which coupled with the third person narrative creates a feeling of the narrator having complete knowledge and understanding of everything. The word "chronicle" suggests the tale is one of an old folktale or legend which presents the idea of the narrator relaying the story to someone else.

In this passage, Cormac McCarthy uses a third person, omniscient narrator which clearly represents isolation and bareness: furthermore, it could be said that this links into the holistic theme of the book. It permits the reader to see the situation and surroundings as they are, feeling that the narrator is trustworthy. Additionally, the effect of having third person narrator could leave the reader to think for themselves how the father and son are feeling without the intrusion of personal narrative opinion; it could also be said that third person narrator shows that apart from us knowing that they’re father and son through statement, there appears to be no emotional attachment involved.
Here, there is a variety of the type of language used. Firstly, there appears to be one group of words which are seemingly scientific: ‘cranked’, ‘pendulum’ and ‘matrix’. This could convey McCarthy’s style: mechanical and logical. Secondly, there are words such as ‘impenetrable’ which give no sense of hope. Overall, the writing style appears to be ‘epic’, yet simplistic to convey potentially the overall plot or the emotions of the characters.

In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the narrator is third person and very objective. ‘His father was cold and stiff’, this suggest that the narrator is emotional detached from the father and son. It seems to the reader that the narrator has distanced himself from the two characters by not giving them a name, therefore making them less human and real. This adds to the isolation that the father and son feel throughout the novel and it gives the reader an opportuitnty to create their own personality for them both. The way the narrator is being objective, it allows the plot of the story to be the main focus point instead of the characterisation of the father and son. It allows the relationship between them both to be stronger and how the problems they both face in the novel; they face together, creating an even better and solid bond. However, it is clear the father feels he is losing his son, ‘reach’. This suggest that he is scared for boy and the dangers that are around them or it could be foreshadowing the fathers death at the end and how the boy will be alone and the father can do nothing to save the boy from the isolation and so therefore he is trying to hold on to him for as long as possible.

The narrative voice is entirely third person except for brief periods when it shifts to first person to better describe the charcters’ thought processes. It also narrates most of the story not from an omniscient perspective but from the man’s perspective except from at the very end when the man is too dead to have a perspective and it shifts to the boy’s perspective. It also briefly shifts to the boy’s perspective when he sees the ‘little boy’ because McCarthy clearly felt it would be interesting to narrate a part revolving around the boy from the boy’s perspective even though the man is still closely involved in that scene. The last paragraph, when it begins to discuss trout, is narrated from an unclear perspective which still resembles the man’s, which presumably exists to create a sense of the man’s still being there even after his death. Interestingly, McCarthy uses unorthodox punctuation, such as never using speech marks and writing ‘dont’ and ‘spanish’ instead of ‘don’t’ and ‘Spanish’. This is presumably meant to make the man’s thought flow seem more naturalistic, although it could be argued that if one has to resort to poor punctuation to get that sense across it is a proof of one’s limitations as a writer.

This is one of the most interesting parts of the book to study in terms of narrative voice, if only because it differs so much from most of the book. For the vast majority of The Road, McCarthy uses a very repetitive narrative voice, neither first person, nor quite impartial third person, deliberately in order to emphasise the monotony of the world. This leads to the question of whether the man is more than just the focaliser but that he actually IS the narrator, but simply too far removed for most of the book to assess anything more than the most practical aspects of his life. You could even go so far as to say that the world is so horrific that he has become detached from it, viewing himself and the boy as strangers so that the cruelty he witnesses don’t drive him mad. This idea makes The Road a lot more eerie if you consider the lack of passion with which the narrator considers the man (himself) and the boy.
This is one of the few scenes where we see a more questioning, subjective mind behind the narrator, who certainly seems synonymous with the man’s thoughts in this scene, lending weight to the theory that they’re one and the same. While the vocabulary is far more varied and complex, aspects of McCarthy’s narrative style remain constant even in this scene such as the short, fragmented sentences. This allows McCarthy to explore his characters without ever releasing us from the all-pervading presence of the Road, which is one of the main features that makes the book so effective (and affecting). This is emphasised by how quickly the narrative returns to the Road after this passage, as if it had simply been a dream that the man soon recovered from.
While the increasingly technical language used in this passage could be seen to lead to a more detached narrative voice, to me it suggests a questioning scientific, even philosophical mind. The rhetorical questions reinforce this; ‘upwards to what?’. It’s almost as if the deep, total, ‘autistic’ darkness allows him to ask these questions and depart from the normally extremely masculine narration.

The passage uses a third person, objective narrator with generally short and simple sentences such as 'often he had to get up'. This is purely stating the character's actions and shows no emotion or sympathy towards what he is doing. The question 'upright to what?' offered by the narrator prompts the reader to question and consider on the situation as well as the character of the world the characters are surviving in. It could also be following the man or narrator's train of thought and gives the reader a brief glimpse of subjective narrative. The philosophical question along with the very scientific language used in the passage stands quite out of place in the novella as a whole as the rest of the story highlights the basic, more primal instincts of survival in a world without morals and reason. The scientific and clinical vocabulary fits, however, with the objective narrative as the lack of sympathy and emotion is continued in the style. Becoming attached to the characters may be inconvenient because of the risk they constantly face- death. The last sentence of the passage, interestingly changes to second person narrative when McCarthy writes 'of which you say it knows nothing and yet know it must.' This brief connection with the reader suggests that the view is a common human flaw and a significant one. It implies that we deceive ourselves in believing we are the most important, powerful and intelligent beings however the absolute devastation of the earth in the story contradicts this. It suggests that no matter what we think, humans are also subject to influence and when the world changes, so does everything about us, it becomes difficult for us to remain the same.

Cormac McCarthy uses a third-person narrator, appearing objective and detached from the nameless man who is referred to as “he”. The early use of the words “impenetrable” and “autistic” also imply emotional disjunction from the narrator. Furthermore, the blackness, which “hurt your ears”, has connotations of graveyards and death. Like the blackness, graveyards are silent but potentially hurtful at the same time, reinforcing the narrator who is detached from this pain and suffering. The use of scientific language also seems detached in the text, as connotations of methodical scientists are associated with the terms “calculations”. “Skull” and “satellite”. This gives the reader a calculating perspective of the man, as if he is learning for himself. McCarthy’s vocabulary stresses this learning process, as the man is “tottering” as if he is learning to walk like a child, again reinforced by the man’s “declination” where he almost falls over. The varying sentence length reflects the man searching for his balance with “vestibular calculations”, as the sentences seem as unbalanced as the man’s mind.

In the novel ‘The road’ by Cormac McCarthy -the narrative voice is given to us in third person, immediately giving us, the reader, the same journey the man follows; seeing things through his eyes. In this novel McCarthy has chosen to write with an 'increasingly objective' narrative voice- objective meaning that the narrator portrays only the external actions and not the character's thoughts and feelings and does not add comments and opinions, avoiding being bias. This causes the reader to feel the pain and suffering the character is feeling.

Although at first glance the language may seem simplistic, McCarthy can also use more complex language such as 'Vestibular Calculation'- this almost a scientific word, which make a sharp contrast. These making the third person narrator come across as a knowledgeable being. Using this type of language, such language the majority of readers would not be able to comprehend, emphasises the isolation felt by the characters in the novel. But instead of it being the characters feeling isolated, it’s the readers.

Cormac McCarthy uses third person narrative as he describes the different viewpoints of both characters using “he”, “she” and “they”. McCarthy doesn’t use apostrophes for words, for example he says “dont” instead of “don’t”; he also doesn’t use quotation marks for speech, which is hard to tell whether it’s speech or thoughts in the characters head. McCarthy does not mention the names of the man or boy, just “man” and “boy” this suggests loneliness and isolation. Many of the paragraphs open with a time setting such as at night, dawn or dusk, for example “Nights dark”. Some of the language McCarthy uses is confusing and overwhelming due, for example “…cold autistic dark” this shows the reader how bad the effect it has on the man. Although McCarthy’s language is seen as scientific as it’s precise and logical as well as being refined with words like “matrix”, “vestibular calculations”, “pendulum” and “impenetrable”. The speech used is very simple and emotionless, “yes” “so we’ll be warm” “yes” “okay”; this suggests that the narrator has less involvement in the story as there is no emotional attachment.

The narrator in this passage from The Road, by Cormac McCarthy is presented as increasingly objective as they seem to be more distant and not emotionally involved with what is happening within the novel. This can be shown in the line, 'He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none.' This suggests that the narrator has little emotional interest with the characters and the situation as the scene which is being presented is written in a blunt, straightforward manner with no extra emotion or emphasis of feelings.
This idea of an increasingly objective narrator is further emphasised with the fact that the narrator is a third person omniscient narrator who knows everything about the novel and it's characters but does little to respond to them as he/she is not actually a physical part of the novel. This shows that the narrator is detached and distant from the characters and the surroundings, and so has no emotions to share within the novel.
Additional to this,the language and variety of vocabulary used in this passage of the novel is very scientific and mathematical, for example, 'vestibular calculations' and, 'declination' implying a sense of seriousness and coldness from the narrator which suggests a distant, 'zoned-out' narrator and so futher emphasises the emotional detachment of the narrator.

The narrator in this passage of the novel appears to have an increasingly objective, zoomed-out, third person perspective on the scene. This objectiveness is heightened by the time of day in which the narrative is set, ‘The blackness he woke to on those nights was sightless and impenetrable.’ The impenetrability of the darkness mirrors the nonexistent connection between the narrator and the emotions of the nameless character.
McCarthy uses a sophisticated, unusual and varied range of language in this passage, ‘...stood tottering in that cold autistic dark,’ that almost overwhelms the reader, giving a sense of how staggering and initially incomprehensible the man’s situation is. The language is confusing and yet McCarthy manages to balance this confusion with precision. The precision comes from both the scientific, mathematical language ‘vestibular calculations’ and the fragmented structure. The passage is constructed mostly by short, simplistic sentences ‘Often he had to get up’. The one syllable, easily understandable words make the narrative feel bare, sparse and detached, but also like an intelligible folk story. The use of archaic language ‘An old chronicle’ augments this idea further. However, the narrative is not entirely dream-like; McCarthy also includes verbs, such as ‘cranked’ that give the passage a mechanical and metallic feel. This contrast makes it difficult to get your bearings, as such, in this passage; in a similar way, the man McCarthy describes finds it arduous to reach equilibrium.

In this paragraph of The Road, McCarthy utilises an increasingly subjective narrative voice that can appear at times to be omniscient. The narrative voice used has a sinister tone and could almost be seen to reflect some of the negative events in the story; therefore it could be argued that the narrative voice is shaped by the vents it has encountered. The word "declination" is negative and potentially sinister, the idea of something falling could be linked to their global situation or maybe just a suggestion of strength; to be allowed to decline you must be stood alone, therefore reflecting the character's situation and suggesting their strength. McCarthy uses an unusual variety of words; many adjectives but also seemingly scientific vocabulary. Verbs such as "cranked" and objects like the "pendulum" create a mathmatical and almost mechanical motif. The work "cranked" is unusual in this context as nothing in the body does crank and therefore it could be viewed that perhaps it is just the focalisers dialect or that it continues the mathmetical theme of experiments. The idea of the "impenetrable" darkness is again a dark image that suggest they are permanantly lost, but McCarthy then considers the "lode or matrix": both objects used to make first compases. This is unusual but still effective as although prviously thought they were lost beyond return, this change shows how the narrative voice is partially confused, mirrooring the characters state. Also these objects could be seen as the point of rorigin, and therefore an object that could show time or progression. Overall McCarthy writes in an epic manner but using simple, effective techniques to convey the character's emotions and situation to the reader.


In Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The road’ the narrative voice can be identified as third person; instantly giving the reader an insight through the man’s eyes. The passage is increasingly objective as it makes us emotionally aware of the pain received through the characters. This reinforces the feeling of loneliness and isolation within the book. 'Sight less and impenetrable' this supports the feeling of loneliness and isolation as we can infer that the characters are consciously aware that they are isolated within themselves creating the feeling of loneliness. 'Autistic dark’ foreshadows the ending to the book as a dark shadow is following the two characters and is increasingly falling upon them. McCarthy uses this range of different words to create the feeling of emotion on the reader. We can also infer from the passage that there is a lack of identity within the book and as we read on it become clearer to the reader that we find out a considerable amount more about the narrator, which shows the objectiveness of the book. Again towards the end of the book the characters no longer have names and are referred to as ‘the man’ ‘the boy’ ‘he’ or ‘they’ this is again a foreshadowing effect as is presents the ending of civilization within the book, leaving the reader emotionally aware of the isolation and loneliness that the narrative voice portrays.

In this extract, Cormac McCarthy displays The Road in third person narrative; instantly showing what is seen through the mans eyes, which is more immediate and allows many different viewpoints and perspective to be present to the reader in the text. This is increasingly objective since it confirms us to emotionally sympathize for the characters, which reinforces the isolation and loneliness within the situation they are in. 'Sight less and impenetrable' suggesting loneliness and that they are stuck between the thick black atmosphere as well as not knowing where they are and being isolated from the area. Cormac McCarthy presents different emotions by the use of words 'autistic dark' portrays a dark shadow falling towards the two characters; foreshadowing what is going to happen at the end; constituting negativity and tension further on in the story. 'Blackness to hurt your ears with listening'- here McCarthy uses a metaphor, which is combined with science; creating a mood made out of raw. As we read on, we find out more about the narrator than we do about 'the man' and 'the boy', which links back to the objective and how character's lack identity, so they are referred to as 'the man' or 'he'. This helps to present the ending of civilization to the point where even names no longer exist. leaving the 'the man' and 'the boy' anonymous.

Cormac McCarthy uses a third person narrator as he continuously uses the words "he", "she" and "they" which describes the different view points of both the man and the boy. Neither the man or the boy are given a name, this could suggest loneliness or isolation because they are anomalous. The use of the third person narrator is also impersonal which lacks feelings. The novel is increasing objective rather than being increasing subjective. This shows that the narrator is less involved in the story and there is no emotional attachment. This is then further emphasised by the use of the third person. The narrator is seen as uninterested as the story unfolds by using long technical words that are hard to understand such as “vestibular” and “marauders”.

The narrator in Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' can be indentified as a third person narrator throguh the use pronouns, inlcuding 'he'. The narrator appears completely objective to the text and the characters within the novel. They appear to be omniscient as comments on the mans and boys actions as they occur, with great detail. This emphasises the objective views of the narrator, as he shows no emotional attachment at the struggle he is watching occur between a father and his son during the collapse of civilisation. The narrator becomes more emotionally uninterested as the novel progresses and alienates even the reader with his complicated use of language including: 'lode'. By using language that the majority of the books audience will not be familiar with, the narrator is excluding the possibility of the reader to feel their own personal emotional connection to the characters in the novel. This highlights the loneliness that the characters are feeling as their world crumples around them.

The narrator is emotional and dramatic in his description of the world. “ ashen daylight congeal”, “Dark beyond darkness” and “cold glaucoma dimming away the world.”The narrative voice seems objective as it does not empathize with the characters. The narrator knows that there is no point. The Narrator is affected by the world, but like the man he also resigned to it. Cormac McCarthy uses the narrator to continually shock and move the reader by his passionate descriptions of the nightmare that the world has become. It is therefore unfair to say that the narrative voice is detached and objective; the narrator is so shocked, he has lost hope and his ability to show empathy. His emotions colour his descriptions.

Cormac McCarthy chose not to use speech marks. This creates a shorter distance between the narrative voice and the characters. “we’re not thinking, he said.” This almost makes the narrator become each character. We believe that the narrator and the characters are from the same world. The narrator pays attention to specific details such as the description of the gas as “faint” and “stale”. This reflects what the characters find important and shows an understanding. The narrative line: “This was not a safe place” is increasingly subjective, as the narrator seems to sense the same discomfort that the characters are feeling.
Cormac McCarthy never allows the narrator the right to comment on how the characters speak. This breaks the authority the narrator normally has over the characters. But it also makes the audience work harder and their imagination more powerful; we have to think with what emotion they might have spoken. The characters also find each other hard to gauge, for example: “ Okay. Okay what? Nothing. Just okay. Go to sleep. Okay.” These words could be said with any colour of emotion. However the narrator describes the world in such a desperate, strong and bleak way that the absence of any description of the characters and their emotions, forces the reader to automatically chose to see good in their relationship because we cannot bear any more desolation. There has to be an alleviation of the utter despair or we would stop reading. Because we are using our imagination we find the best of human nature and feel it stronger than any descriptive words could have evoked. Cormac McCarthy plays with our human nature, and can predict we will find good in his characters, without the narrative comment.

The road is quite obviously written in third person. However the effects that this particular narrative choice has, are different in comparision to other novels which are written in the third person. To begin with the use of the repeated word "they" and "their" create an effect of secrecy and distance with the reader. Clear boundaries are set between what the reader should know and what they should'nt. This makes the reader feel more intrigued, especially as the actual events of the novel take place quite slowly. The slow "dripping" of events makes the mysterious level of the narrative voice and makes us want to read on until the climax of the novel.
The dialogue which is used by the narrator in "The Road" is very simplistic. The father repetivelly uses phrases such as "Ok", "It's Ok", "No", "Yes" etc. The bare minimum is said by the father to enhance the mysterious edge which Cormac McCarthy cleverly uses. We also sense frustration in the fathers voice because he can't possibly do anything to help his son because they both have nothing

While this extract is immediately recognisable as McCarthy's morose tone, it differs in areas from the majority of the text which is predominantly characterised by simplistic, and often monosyllabic vocabulary. The omniscient third-person narrator that is evident in the rest of the novel becomes increasingly focalised on an individual in this passage, clear even from seemingly minor details, such as the description of him as he stood 'tottering', the adverb showing a heightened level of subjectiveness which you would struggle to find in the rest of the poem. This stark contrast in narrative style further separates this section from the rest of the text. It's a very significant extract, enhanced by the use of bilabial plosives 'bare and blackened' which humans are more sensitive to, therefore making it even more memorable. This elicits an intensified level of perception in the reader, hence why McCarthy’s diction is so precise. His systematic ,mechanical word choice ‘vestibular’ will often call for the reader to research certain meanings, in turn giving a greater gravity to the passage as more cognitive effort has gone into its understanding. This is arguably more difficult to read, and to comprehend than many other areas of the text as a result of the specific vocabulary, and is fairly unforgettable. The switch to second-person narrative in the last sentence ‘you may say it knows nothing’ again is fairly rare in the novel, and appeals directly to the reader, as if we’re being given an insight into the entire workings of the universe. This technique creates an unspoken mutuality between the narrator and the reader as he is directly addressing them as an individual, and this affiliation translates into a greater sense of connection with both the character, and the novel as a whole.
McCarthy has designed these fifteen lines to be unforgettable, poignant and profound. After reading the entire text, it remains a memorable part, which is validated in that ‘No Sound But The Wind’, a song by The Editors was written on reflection of the novel, but the title comes specifically from this extract.

This post will discuss the passage on in The Road that begins ‘The blackness he woke to on those night…’ In attempt to avoid repeated what others have analyzed I will focus on the quote: ‘Eyes closed, arms oaring. Upright to what? Something nameless in the night, lode or matrix.’ First of all, this passage marks a dramatic shift in narrative style. The consistent, matter of fact narration suddenly becomes a poetic and philosophical stream of consciousness. Here, the language is complicated and convoluted, recording the thoughts and feelings of the man rather than merely his actions.

Above, a question is posed and then answered, much like the human brain thinks. Likewise, sentences are short and fragmented, reflecting not the coherence of the written word but the incoherence of thought. The man’s closed eyes and probing questions indicate that he is lost or confused. This ties in with the idea of darkness, which often symbolizes ignorance.

The word ‘upright’ is significant. Man is different from other animals because he walks upright. Maybe the man is looking for the force in the universe that makes humans stand upright. Is it this ‘nameless’ thing that draws humans to look upwards? Perhaps the man wants to overcome his animalistic instincts but cannot yet find meaning in the ‘dark.’

It is worth noting that the passage has a mixture of technical and archaic words. Words like ‘autistic’ and ‘vestibular’ suggest science and the future, but words like ‘chronicle’ and ‘lode’ suggest the primitive and ancient. Perhaps this reflects the paradox in The Road: it is set in the future but in many ways it echoes the past. Everything except for the most basic concerns have been set aside, and only survival matters to most people. This struggle between base instincts and higher thought is central to the plot in The Road. Poetic passages like this one that interrupt the normal narrative may indicate that the narrator is aware of such a struggle. The general conclusion I draw from this discussion is that the man and boy’s journey is a quest to pass on knowledge and morality.

This post will discuss the passage on in The Road that begins ‘The blackness he woke to on those night…’ In attempt to avoid repeated what others have analyzed I will focus on the quote: ‘Eyes closed, arms oaring. Upright to what? Something nameless in the night, lode or matrix.’ First of all, this passage marks a dramatic shift in narrative style. The consistent, matter of fact narration suddenly becomes a poetic and philosophical stream of consciousness. Here, the language is complicated and convoluted, recording the thoughts and feelings of the man rather than merely his actions.

Above, a question is posed and then answered, much like the human brain thinks. Likewise, sentences are short and fragmented, reflecting not the coherence of the written word but the incoherence of thought. The man’s closed eyes and probing questions indicate that he is lost or confused. This ties in with the idea of darkness, which often symbolizes ignorance.

The word ‘upright’ is significant. Man is different from other animals because he walks upright. Maybe the man is looking for the force in the universe that makes humans stand upright. Is it this ‘nameless’ thing that draws humans to look upwards? Perhaps the man wants to overcome his animalistic instincts but cannot yet find meaning in the ‘dark.’

It is worth noting that the passage has a mixture of technical and archaic words. Words like ‘autistic’ and ‘vestibular’ suggest science and the future, but words like ‘chronicle’ and ‘lode’ suggest the primitive and ancient. Perhaps this reflects the paradox in The Road: it is set in the future but in many ways it echoes the past. Everything except for the most basic concerns have been set aside, and only survival matters to most people. This struggle between base instincts and higher thought is central to the plot in The Road. Poetic passages like this one that interrupt the normal narrative may indicate that the narrator is aware of such a struggle. The general conclusion I draw from this discussion is that the man and boy’s journey is a quest to pass on knowledge and morality.

Throughout The Road McCarthy has specifically chosen to write with an increasingly objective authorial narrative voice. This significantly creates a detached, emotionless, cold and harsh tone throughout the novel, reflecting the post-apocalyptic American landscape in which the Man and Boy are journeying across. For example McCarthy uses a mixed metaphor ‘A blackness to hurt your ears with listening’ to describe the dark, vile nights the Man wakes up to. The language used in this quote is very simplistic but the idea is very complex and intricate. How can your ears hurt through listening to the dark? How can you listen to the dark? The repetition of sensory images throughout the passage and especially in the quote above is very poignant as it emphasises the unbearable silence and darkness that has taken over their lives and it depicts the fear and helplessness the Man has in his life.

As well using simplistic language McCarthy infuses into the text technical and precise words. McCarthy has created the narrative voice to be a knowledgeable and intelligent being through the use of increasing repetition of scientific words and phrases such as ‘glaucoma’ and ‘vestibular calculations.’ The scientific terminology McCarthy uses reinforces the narrators cold and increasing objectivity. Most of the readers reading The Road will probably not understand the scientific terms and this reinforces one of the main themes in the novel of isolation. The scientific vocabulary makes the reader feel isolated from the novel, just like the Man and Boy are detached and isolated from the world around them.

The third person narrative of this extract gives a sense of objectivity from the narrator, which is increasingly emphasised as the extract goes on, to the point where it appears that the narrator has broken away from the man and boy completely and is simply talking about the situation of the world “Like the great pendulum in its rotunda...” This is contrasted by the emotive descriptions of the ‘blackness,’ which seems almost personal through the way it is described as ‘sightless and impenetrable,’ as if the man and boy are lost and alone in this wilderness.

The extract gives a sense of restlessness, through language such as ‘seek,’ ‘arms oaring’ and ‘common satellite.’ This reinforces the sense of wandering from the boy and his father, which is prevalent throughout the whole novel. As well as this, there is the sense of confusion in the extract as the narrator asks ‘upright to what?’ and the dark is described as ‘autistic’ as if they cannot separate reality from fantasy. This could suggest that the previously described darkness is not in fact actual darkness but a state of mind which was oppressive and inescapable, and that the man was not sure if it was reality or fantasy.

McCarthy uses a third person narrative in The Road, this causes the reader to be immediately distanced from the characters, creating an emotionless, detached tone. This is reinforced with the man’s lack of identity throughout the text. Although he is one of the main characters, he is referred to as ‘man’ or ‘he’. This presents to the reader that its gone past a stage of civilisation where even names are non existent. As well as this it exaggerates the objectivity of the narrator.
By McCarthy referring to the character as ‘man or ‘he’, makes it harder for the reader to relate to him as he has little personality, emotion and feelings; three features which are not associated with a character.
Another way the narrative voice is effective is by the use of specific and scientific words such as ‘vestibular calculations’. This word may be unknown to the reader, However it could be also interpreted that ‘vestibular calculations’ are in fact suggesting that the world needs religion; because the conditions that the characters are living in are very dark and gloomy. This type of language adds to the detached feeling towards the characters because of his scientific, and almost clinical approach to the settings and feelings. The reader also gets an impression that the world is dominated by science and there is no goodness or belief in god. We can see this when the writer says ‘nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before.


The text is written in third person. This is used by McCarthy to portray both the viewpoints of the boy and the man. Vocabulary used in the extract indicates that there is in an increase in scientific language. An example of this is “vestibular Calculation”, which shows the reader that the message may not be straight forward through the sophisticated tone. The world is seen as too dark and grey for the man to see, which demonstrates his dependence on his vision. The significance of the scientific language is allowing McCarthy to describe his ideas from a fair objective point showing the development of human emotion. “A blackness to hurt your ears with listening”. The mixed metaphor is used to reflect the confusing concept within the novel which affects the fluidity of the text. “Lode or matrix”, is used to describe theme of darkness. This suggests that the dark has taken the poetic nature of the narrative. The use of short sentences increases the pace of dialogue as well as knowledge given to the reader. McCarthy therefore makes the characters represented seem loneliness and isolation in their own dream “Universe”.

When the passage opens, the third person subjective narration immediately opens with a description of the habitat that the man has slept in. We first learn that we are “in the woods in the dark and the cold”. The way the narrator lists these descriptions thrusts us into the eyes of the man as he slowly awakens and makes sense of his surroundings and makes the reader almost see and feel almost exactly what the man is seeing and feeling. The audience is not told by the narrator what time of day it is, only that it is dark and cold, once again creating a stream of consciousness from the man to reader as we feel his level of uncertainty. The description of dark beyond darkness once again imposes a level of both curiosity and confusion. Questions immediately arise from this description. What is darker than darkness? Thus leaving the audience as helpless and as lost as the man in the book. The characters lack of identity further conveys this sense of confusion and helplessness and installs a sense that the man in the book is alone, trapped in a world which is “darker than darkness.” The sense of helplessness and almost the feeling of certainty of some sort of close end is also conveyed in the description of “some cold glaucoma dimming the world away” both in a literal sense, that the world is becoming darker and colder as portrayed in the opening sentence of the section, and in a more metaphorical way, the idea that the man is slowly losing his grip on reality and the world is no longer recognisable as his home. Glaucoma is an eye disease often caught with age, where by the eye sight slowly deteriorates until total blindness is achieved by the disease. This concept is portrayed throughout the book as the man’s health slowly deteriorates until such a time that age has finally caught up with him and his physical vision of the world ceases to exists. Throughout the book, the man’s health resembles that of one’s sight who has glaucoma, ie a slow and progressive dwindling of existence until a stage is reached were the damage is irreversible, and truly a dark darker than darkness is finally seen.

In the extract of The Road, Cormac McCarthy uses the third person, in which 'he' and 'it' are used. As the reader, I get the idea of being increasingly objective alongside the narrator, rather than being increasingly subjective and being more involved in the story. Following the narrator, the narrative language which is used adds a scientific approach to describing either the father or the son (we are not sure). Using the scientific idea, McCarthy gives us another idea (instead of using a not quite so interesting approach) McCarthy uses ideas including, 'vestibular calculations' which adds a different meaning as to just using 'calculations'. The term 'vestibular' is something from within the ear which controls our balance and spatial awareness, and where McCarthy has used this term we are lead to believe that it is actually doing the opposite to what it is actually meant to do. I get the idea that the third person narrator is actually a scientific background and twists our minds into thinking of the original rather than the traditional.

McCarthy then alters his scientific saying to make the balance of the human stay upright and focused on where they are meaning to go on. 'Great pendulum in its rotunda', suggests that McCarthy is now juxtaposing the previous statement of 'vestibular calculations', but now the human is able to carry on from where he started (on the floor). McCarthy is mainly using this extract to to describe how the character feels, as I feel that the character has no sense in where he is and who he is- a sense of lost feeling and/or identity.

The narrator is obviously third person omniscient but less obviously sounds like an interior monologue due to his expression of the man's actions as they occur. However because it is not first person narration, this is not entirely possible. The narrator is also the focaliser although it feels like the man should be the main point of interest. The narrator for not seem objective towards the characters at first, he does not seem detached but possibly seems more disinterested. This changes throughout the novel, and this lack of emotional attachment is presented by scientific vocabulary such as "lode or matrix" and "vestibular calculations". The majority of readers will not be familiar with these terms, which suggests that the narrator wants the reader to feel slightly out of the loop, and wants the story to remain secret and contained as it has been up until this point, due only to the fact that we have only just begun to read the narrative. The novel now seems to be simply facts and scientific knowledge, rather than poetic or at all romantic. However it is not completely void of sentiment or emotion, which is the only reason it doesn't sound completely incomprehensible. The reader gets a sense of secrecy And containment from the use of the word "their". "Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls". This makes the reader feel intrusive as we are inhabiting their cave and exploring without being welcomed. Also the use of the word "their" makes us think they own everything, because nothin belongs to anyone anymore.

The narrator in “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy comes across as a third person narrator due to the use of personal pronouns such as “he”. However, the reader assumes that the narrator is also omniscient, because of the usage of philosophical language, and a sense of all-knowing knowledge of the universe, such as “like the great pendulum in its rotunda scibing trough the long day movements of the universe”, but increasingly objective, as the narrative mainly focuses on the man in the dark, and does not offer another perspective. Nevertheless, there is also a sense of humanity in the narrators tone, and the omniscient ‘appearance’ is made questionable due to the use of the question “upright to what?” suggesting that the narrator does not, in fact, know as much as they make it seem. This particularly passage seems to address the loneliness that is a repetitive theme throughout the novel, but also creates a sense of darkness, and not just literally. This could be perceived as a device to address the loss of identity that seems to have come with the apparent apocalypse (in the novel as a whole, this is emphasised by the fact that neither main character has a name). This idea is stressed in this particular paragraph, such as when it says “He took great marching steps into the nothingness, counting them against his return,” which could suggest the man’s lack of interest in his personal wellbeing, for he does not hesititate to wonder over what dangers could be out there at that moment.

This text is written in third person narrative, strongly focalized by the character “the man”. Indeed the narrative is so firmly linked to the man that when it begins to become more subjective and rambling towards the end it is unclear as to whether this represents the thoughts of the man as he stumbles through the dark or those of the narrator himself pondering the man’s situation.
However either way this is at odds with McCarthy normal blunt, highly objective style and offers us rare insights into the characters. It is important to note that this scene takes place at night, as do many of the more subjective sections (not to mention the dreams/flashbacks) while the boy sleeps. This could be interpreted as suggesting that the boy with his innocence and strong belief in his father prevents the narrator from straying from an objective telling of events. Alternatively, the never-ending greyness of the days could be seen as sapping all emotion from the characters leaving no room for philosophy, even the “blackness” is a favourable condition for thought than the road itself.
The narrator uses quite complex scientific vocabulary and ideas which, if we presume that the extract is indeed a stream of consciousness of the man could provide details of his past life. “Are you a doctor?” he is asked and this section hints towards an academic, scientific upbringing which even in the post-apocalyptic wasteland cannot fully be subdued. However if the narrator is intended to be external, he too appears trapped in the darkness that surrounds the man and is unable to see the whole scene. He is not omniscient; in fact he appears to only be able to access that which is directly accessible to the characters themselves.
While the complexity of language and thought in this passage surpasses that of the rest of the novel the structure remains largely unchanged. McCarthy continues to make use of short incomplete sentences interspersed with moments of action and great lucidity. Here to we can see the sapping nature of setting allowing for only minimal description. This style serves too to emphasize the disjointed nature of the narrator’s thoughts, each concept appearing as a separate phrase, “Something nameless”, “the great pendulum in its rotunda”. The section ends abruptly and we return immediately to the road, creating a sense of emptiness in the later scenes- the thoughts have been thought but they have no place in the man’s world and so must be discarded.

The passage begins with an increasingly objective narrator using simple language and short sentences. "A blackness to hurt your ears with listening," for example is simple, however the idea behind the words are far from simple. It vividly describes the way the silence and the darkness took over their lives like nothing you can imagine and therefore all the senses are used to try to represent the overwhelming "blackness". Perhaps this style represents how the character's lives are just simple every day routines. They must wake up, "get up" and walk further along the road, however their thoughts and feelings of living alone in a baron world are far from simple and are hinted at throughout the novel in the narrative. And therefore, as the narrator is describing the character's feelings and emotions, even if it has to be read into to understand, perhaps the narrator is in fact increasingly subjective. The passage then becomes more detailed as more scientific language is used. For example "vestibular calculations" just a simple movement. Perhaps this is used by McCarthy to show how for the characters, every movement and step in their lives is an effort because of their absolute exhaustion. I think the narrative then becomes more poetic however still using scientific language towards the end of the passage. "Great pendulum in its rotunda scribing through the long day movements of the universe," creates a strong slow rhythm the the text and perhaps the narrator tells the story in this slow rhythmic tone reflects the feelings and emotions of the characters.

Throughout the passage, the narrator appears to be emotionally detached from the characters within. The way he describes the setting and situations comes across as though he is, too, seeing it for the first time. This gives the idea that the narrator is trying to make sence of whats going on, hence the use of scientific words and phrases such as ‘vestibular calculations’. This phrase is looked over by readers often because its quite a specific term, but when really looked into it provides another metaphore - that every thing is out of balance.Perhaps the world and what it used to be, as well as the feelings of characters and that they might be mentally unbalanced by the situation they have found themselves in.
This scientific language gives the reader the impression that the narrative voice is of scientific background and is almost describing the setting and situations in a very clinical way. The detached attitude of the narrator also helps the reader to take in what is going on and make their own personal opinion on characters, setting and what has gone on before the novel began.
The narrative voice also reinforces the desolate surroundings, as the tone seems to fit with the feelings of characters and the 'godless’ land scape. This is done by straight to the point language, that at the same time can often hold deeper meaning to it. For example the 'blackness to hurt your ears with listening' is alsmost a contradictory statement that sounds as though it works in context but usually would make no sence at all. It gives us the idea that the 'blackness'of their surroundings is making its way into the brains of the characters and eating them away until nothing else can be heard, everything that exists becomes 'blackness'. This almost backwards language juxtaposes the underlying themes and ideas of the author. The narrator sounds incredibly intelligent and many descriptions go into deep metaphorical terms that discuss very wide topics and issues in context to the situations within the novel- but the way it is sometimes stated can be confusing when on its own but make an incredible amount of sence when applied to the situations. This is interesting as it creates a personality for the narrator and the reader gets some sort of image of who they may be. This is interesting because we probably know more about the narrators personality than we do about 'the man' or 'the boy' which is both the narrators doing.

the road appears to be in third person narrative which could represent the isolation and loneliness the characters are feeling. Also the fact that McCarthy never mentions a name for the man or child but simply refers to them as'man' 'child' or 'he' could represent the isolation they are feeling. But this could also represent the idea that they are simply unrecogniseable in the post apocoliptic world. The narrative is incrreasingly objective which immediately detaches the narrator showing no emotional attchment involved. 'His father was cold and stiff' shows no attchment from the narrator which could represent the distance of the man and child to the rest of civilisation. the mixed metaphor 'a blackness to hurt the ears with listening' may confuse the readere which could mirror the world the man and child are living in. The use of scientific words like 'vestibular calculation' in the narrative creates metaphorical images. We as a reader are still unsure on what caused this post apocoliptic world and the use of simple sentences can help us sort things out and start to unravel our confusion.

The narrative is in the 3rd person by using 'he' to address who he's talking about. This allows McCarthy to show both characters, the man and the boys, points of view. This emphasises the darkness in the Road because its described as if the narrator is watching the man and his son, which feels much more detached from the events, although he still manages to portray the growing anxiety that the man feels and fear that is overpowering the boy. Also there is a lot of dark and frightening language used when describing the mans daily life, such as 'the darkness was silent and impenetrable'. this almost makes us feel claustrophobic and scared as the reader which mirrors how the character would be feeling at the same time, which is effective in the build of suspense. Also the use of 'cold autistic dark' and 'blackness to hurt your ears with listening' exaggerates the overpowering darkness that is constantly surrounding them, this is referenced throughout the novel because it plays a huge part in the disorientation and loss that they feel. Also the way in which McCarthy never gives too much information about the characters, such as names, adds to the mystery and isolation that the man and boy face in their diminishing world.
Another way the narrative voice is effective is the use of specific and scientific words, such as 'vestibular calculations', which the reader may not understand, still this can emphasise the the strangeness and futuristic style. Also this type of language adds to the detached feeling towards the characters because of his scientific, and almost clinical approach to the settings and feelings. However he also using simplistic vocabulary, which sometimes mirrors what the young boy may be thinking, so his mixture of simple and advanced language could be to show how both the man and boy view the word they're surrounded by.

The importance of the lack of religion is crucial to the whole story. As Cossette has mentioned earlier that scientific words are being used. However it could be also interpreted that the scientific words are in fact suggesting that the world needs religion; because the conditions that the people are living is obviously dark and there is no goodness; this world is dominated by science, examples of this is ‘vestibular calculations’. The opposite of dark is light, and the opposite of evil is goodness; these words are often associated with religion and the opposite of science in this context is the opposite of religion.
The father and son become the holders of the ‘fire’ in The Road. The fire is a symbol for goodness and mercy and a religious message. They travel the road not for hope of survival, thought the child may think so, but as the father knows deep down because it is the right thing to do. Te father knows that the message has to be spread it is almost like his mission and what his earthly life is meant for. They must spread the fire and try to survive and keep the goodness alive. In the world McCarthy provides death would seem better than trying to brave what is left on the earth. The father could have very easily killed himself and his son, and not exposed the son to the horrors of cannibalism and death. The ‘fire’ I believe is the message that is sent down by God to the people very much like ‘prophets’.

The father most likely knew that they were some of the only good people left on the earth. At this point though the others on earth can barely be spoken of as people, since they have fallen to below the standards of most animals and capture and eat other human beings. With this there is something to be said for being the last real human beings on earth, and no matter how hard it is to sustain that life the weight of that fact is immense and it is something that you would try to keep alive for. To remain the speck of humanity left in a world full of only the most demonic animals. “They pulled the morels from the ground, small alien looking things that he piled in the back of the boys parka”(40) The fact that McCarthy chose a type of mushroom called morels is clearly significant. They were small alien looking things, the Morales of humans were also such. They had become foreign and small to a place that was once their home. The father piles the small mushrooms into the back of the boys hood but throughout their journey he is also piling up real Morales into the boy. The man knows if he cannot survive it is now the boy’s job to keep these ideals alive, so he proceeds to feed the boy his own knowledge of good so that those Morales could live on even if only through one small boy.

In this particular passage McCarthy uses third person as it refers to 'he' and 'they'. McCarthy uses simplicity to create a complex meaning. Also, he could be doing this in addition to the third person narrative to create a detached narrator. It is as if the more syllables the narrator says, the more emotion he feels he is spilling out. McCarthy then goes on to use more scientific and longer sentences - such as 'vestibular', a vestibule is a part of the ear which controls balance and spacial awareness. It's as if it's too much for the narrator to keep in, he has to share his feelings in his own way.
I feel that the narrator is old, ancient and also slightly annoyed. I think he is old/ancient because he uses some vocabulary from different eras - such as 'chronicle' and 'lode' - I also feel this gives him a kind of superior and wise feel to him. Also, I have referred to the narrator as 'he' because of how I feel he comes across. I think that the narrator symbolizes religion and he is God. This made me think that he would then be more increasing subjective, but I feel that he isn't, which is strange as you would think that if you created something so extraordinary such as the Earth you would be more subjective not objective. This makes me think that McCarthy is trying to show a more scientific view of the world than a religious one. It then says 'Great pendulum in its rotunda scribing' It's as if a giant pendulum is writing the universe. It makes me think does the world really intend everything to happen? Can we really create our own destiny? Orr are we just put on the Earth for a specific reason and that reason alone?

An omniscient narrator tells the story of the road. most of the road is written in third person however it does often shift into the head of the man. In the beginning it's in third person but when the man starts to dream it shifts, 'the man saw.... dressed in clotheing of every description' we see the narrator clearly shifts to the mans point of view and we are seeing through his eyes. 'his father was cold amd stiff' this shows us that the narrator has no attachment to the man or his child and the distance of the narratornand the man could represent the distance the man and child from the rest of humanity. Mccarthy also refers to the characters as 'man' 'he' and 'child'to represent the loneliness and isolation they are feeling in this post apocoliptic world.

Mccarthy uses confusing metaphors such as 'a blackness to hurt your eyes with listening' to mirror the world the man and child are living in, the world has become to dark and grey that the man can no longer see and has to depend on his sense of hearing. using scientific and complex language allows the narrator to distance him self even more and to detach himself from the mand and child.

In the passage, a lot of the words used are very scientific and specific, for example phrases such as ‘vestibular calculations’ may well be unknown to the reader; however strangely this does not break the grand effect of the passage, as the complexity of the language used helps to create the epic tone. The frequent use of scientific language may also be interpreted as an elimination of any religious ideas regarding the events in the novel. This is supported by the fact that the surroundings may be interpreted as ‘godless’. At the start of the novel, the man also makes a statement regarding the boy in which he says: ‘if he is not the word of God, God never spoke’. This suggests some kind of doubt in the man’s religious beliefs, as the only thing that is keeping him going is his son, as he appears to have lost some faith in religion, probably due to the death of nature and the darkness of the surroundings throughout the novel, which is also portrayed in the passage as there is frequent repetition of words such as ‘blackness’, ‘darkness’ and ‘nothingness’. The significance of this thorough description of the darkness of the surroundings is especially explored when McCarthy describes the blackness as ‘a blackness to hurt your ears with listening’, which is a very powerful, perhaps overwhelming idea of the intensity of this blackness.
The use of the scientific language may also portray the realisation of the futility of the knowledge in the world, as in the world in The Road, all civilisation seems to have vanished, as humans are again victims of nature, solely living on their will to survive, leading to seemingly inhumane actions such as cannibalism, which is frequently mentioned throughout the novel.
Through the specific words used in the passage, McCarthy creates even deeper, more overwhelming metaphorical images, which may not be noticed by some readers due to the complexity of the language. For example, when McCarthy describes the ‘vestibular calculations’, he describes how the sense of balance in the human body works in great detail, which may indicate a strong juxtaposition between the apparent physical balance and the strong mental imbalance that is present in the characters due to the internal conflict which both the man and the boy face throughout the novel. This idea of balance may also be considered to reflect great imbalances in their lives in general, in terms of light and dark, work and play or positive and negative.
Also, the passage begins with a mere description of events which then deepens into an extremely detailed, and somewhat overwhelming philosophical description of the actions that originally seemed so simple, but yet are so complex. This may also be an idea that is extended throughout the novel, as the simple language juxtaposes with the complexity of themes and ideas explored in the novel.
The last sentence is also particularly interesting because the narrator changes from third person to second person, which creates an intimacy between the reader and the narrator. ‘Of which you may say it knows nothing but yet know it must’ – this idea of self-deception may evoke deeper thoughts in the reader as it points out a human flaw; it suggests that people ‘lie to themselves’ as they try to believe what they want to believe rather than standing for the truth. While this may refer to the man, as he pretends to believe in a happy ending for the boy’s sake, however knows deep down that there will be no happy ending and that they will probably die; this may also reflect the self-deceit of the whole human race. The idea that the man may portray the entire human race is supported by the fact that he and the boy remain anonymous throughout the novel, with neither ever receiving a name, or even an identity.

Cormac McCarthy uses a third person narrative in The Road, immediately distancing the reader from the characters and creating an emotionless, detached tone. The distance from the humanity represented by the father and boy places the reader firmly as a part of the narratives world, rather than as a person viewing it. Even seeing the mans dream, which in other novels would be something deeply personal still doesn’t establish a real connection to the father, since the language used (“ the dark and the cold of the night”) is logical and unemotional. The narrative throughout uses some complex, scientific words like “lode” and “matrix” – this could show that since civilisation has ended, only science is left in this world.
However, McCarthys vocabulary is diverse, and he uses simplistic, clear words alongside the longer scientific ones, as well as words that are reminiscent of ancient eras (“chronicle”). If people really looked into the language, there would find at least three worlds – the cold physical world of the unshakable narrator, the simpler yet personally confusing world of the father and the dying world as the rest of humanity as a whole would see it – McCarthy shows this world by personifying it and giving it human diseases such as “Cold glaucoma”.
The second world is harder to show, as describing the things the father is feeling would break from the distance he has established. Instead, he uses the narrative structure to represent it. He uses phrases such as “A blackness to hurt your ears with listening” – a sentence with mixed-up and confused stimuli yet somehow making sense, because it mirrors the confusion of the father. The mixture of short and long sentences as well as simple and scientific words also help create this fragmented effect.

The Road is told in third person narrative, this allows McCarthy to portray both the viewpoints of the boy and the man as well as giving a very blunt description of the surroundings without the intrusion of personal opinion. This increasingly objective narrator allows the reader to formulate their own emotional sympathies for the characters and gives the impression that they are truly isolated in this ‘barren’, post apocalyptic land, where no one not even the narrator has any hope for them. In this particular passage McCarthy uses a range of simple and sophisticated vocabulary. The simple sentences can be interpreted to reflect the unhopeful and unmotivated feelings of the characters; ‘Often he had to get up.’ they are childlike in their ambitions and vulnerability, they are unable to think beyond the survival of another day. The complex, sophisticated and often-scientific language mirrors the severe emotional complications caused by their dreadful situation. The vestibular is the part of the ear that controls balance, ‘Vestibular calculations’ may show that the world has become too dark and grey for the man to see and he has had to become dependent on his ears. On the other hand perhaps it could be interpreted to show that listening to the silence is better than witnessing the dreadful landscape by sight. The significance of the scientific language is that it allows McCarthy to describe things from an even more objective point showing further detachment from human emotion.

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