History Main / TheRoad

9th Apr '13 5:16:34 PM Xtifr
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[[quoteright:280:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/theroad_2025.jpg]]

In 2006, prominent American novelist {{Cormac McCarthy}} published ''TheRoad'', a post-apocalyptic novel which garnered critical praise in America and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. The book is notable for a stark, minimalist style interspersed with occasional [[PurpleProse purple metaphors]]. The writing is idiomatic to say the least, eschewing most punctuation (including quotes) and occasionally including one-sentence chapters of philosophical musing.

Depending on whom you ask, ''The Road'' is either a melancholic but stirringly beautiful story about the goodness of humanity in a hopeless world, or a hellish nightmare so dark that no sane person would read it. [[TakeAThirdOption Or, it's just boring, repetitive, unpleasant, pretentious, and grammatically nonsensical]]. And if you enjoy breathing, never point out that this book, despite its premise, is not to be found in the [[SciFiGhetto science fiction section of the bookstore]]: [=McCarthy=] fans will get upset at the implication that High Literature would be grouped with Genre Fiction, and Genre fans will be upset because The Road is pretty tame when compared to the Post-Apocalyptic genre, as a whole.

Set after an unspecified global disaster, ''TheRoad'' follows two survivors, a man and his young son, who journey south through the smoking ashes of the United States, toward what they hope is a less dangerous country somewhere near the East Coast. During their ordeal, the man and the boy have only the rags on their backs and a cart of scavenged food. And one another. As they travel, they (and the audience) bear witness to a dead world, where nothing moves but the ashes in the breeze, nothing grows, and the sun is blacked out by a layer of poisonous ash. The only living beings except for them are the starving bands of men that stalk the road.

Like most of [=McCarthy's=] books, it was optioned for a film, and TheFilmOfTheBook ''TheRoad'' was released on November 25, 2009. It was directed by John Hillcoat, the director of ''TheProposition'', starring ViggoMortensen and CharlizeTheron (in a minor role). The score was done by NickCave and Warren Ellis (no, not ''that'' WarrenEllis).
----
!!The original novel TheRoad contains examples of:

* AfterTheEnd: One of the few such novels to actually make it look like mankind is on its way out. Not just scraping by, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt but dying]].
* AntiHero: The Man might count. Though considering the world he lives in its understandable.
* ApocalypseAnarchy: The world has descended into chaos. It's the law of the jungle.
* ApocalypseHow: [[ApocalypseHow/{{Class 4}} Class 4]] - biosphere extinction has already occurred and the world is in the final stages of dying.
* ArcWords: The phrase "carrying the fire" is constantly repeated by the boy, doubling as a SurvivalMantra. The phrase also appeared in ''NoCountryForOldMen.''
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: It isn't widely known, but canned food is only safe to eat for five years. The man and his son should be at serious risk of contracting botulism by now.
** Debateable. The older cans are, the more likely they are to be unsafe, but if the cans are intact and were properly processed in the first place, the food can be safe for much longer. The US military recently opened and tested provisions canned in the 1950's and found them to still be safe.
* BeardOfBarbarism: Averted and played straight. Averted by the father, whose unkempt beard is mentioned a few times (typically right before he has the chance to shave it off). Played straight when the two main characters stumbled upon the ghoulish larder of a small band of cannibals at one point. As they flee, they briefly glimpse the larder's owners, and the only adjective used to describe the men is "bearded."
* BeigeProse
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: The man has died, but the boy finds a new, slightly more prosperous family to take care of him. Of course, they're still in a [[InferredHolocaust dying world.]] ]]
* BornLucky: The man suspects this of his son - as much as anyone can be BornLucky AfterTheEnd, anyway. By all the available evidence, he's right.
* CannibalClan: Most of humanity have starved to the point where they eat other humans, and it's implied that they will eventually die from sickness or starvation, or cannibalize each other until no one is left.
* CrapsackWorld: Less a WorldHalfEmpty than a world almost completely drained.
* CreepyBasement: And how!
* DeathWorld
* DespairEventHorizon: It's arguable whether our heroes are teetering on the edge, or jumped off a long time ago. Either way, [[spoiler:the discovery of the cannibal larder]] hits them both ''hard''.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:The mother, and the father still carries a gun with two bullets in case the urge becomes overwhelming for him too.]] Justified, given the situation.
* HappyFlashback: The man actively tries to discourage these. They just make him want to [[DrivenToSuicide end it]].
* HopeSpot: The father finds a still-stocked and untouched bomb shelter, giving them a short time with comfortable beds, food, and even showers. Since he knows others will find it as well, he doesn't stay long.
* ImAHumanitarian: The only way for most people to eat, now that the biosphere's dying out. The man and the boy are amongst the few survivors who ''don't'' indulge in this.
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: We see early on that the man has one, adding an extra layer of urgency to their journey.
* InferredHolocaust: Pretty much one of the reasons why the ending is so bittersweet. [[spoiler: Even though the boy is in good hands, ''the biosphere is dead.'' No one is going to live long once what is left of food is eaten and the remaining humans have all cannibalized each other.]]
* KickTheDog: When the father and son catch up [[spoiler: to the man who stole from them, the father engages in some DisproportionateRetribution, ordering him to strip naked and throw his belongings in their cart. This, in short, gave him a death sentence by hypothermia.]]
* MissingMom: The mother gave up hope and [[ParentalAbandonment left the family]].
* NamelessNarrative: No characters are named throughout the novel. Double subverted with an old tramp the man and his son meet at one point, who claims his name is Ely, before revealing it isn't, and that he doesn't want to tell them his real name.
* PapaWolf: The father.
* PetTheDog: A couple from [[spoiler:the scavengers who pick up the boy at the end of the book]], showing that they're safe and trustworthy people to be around. [[spoiler:They [[DueToTheDead cover the father with a blanket]] like they'd promised, and insist the boy keeps his gun when he tries to give it to them.]]
* RapeAsDrama: Alluded to as one of the many perils on the road - not least because it's often the precursor to [[ImAHumanitarian something worse]].
* ScavengerWorld: A kingdom for proper boots.
* SceneryGorn: So very much. In this world, ashes fall like snow.
* SchmuckBait: Averted. The man finds a jar of preserved fruit in an abandoned house. It looks very nice, but "other people hadn't trusted it, and in the end, neither did he."
* ShrugOfGod: [[WordOfGod The author]] has offered a few possible explanations for the world-ending disaster, and said that he himself has no opinion on the subject. See also TheUnreveal.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: There's a whole cottage industry that's sprung up around debating this question. As noted in the description, there's a group that believes the book is mind-shatteringly depressing. There's another group that believes TheRoad is, through all the death and misery, a chronicle of the strength and beauty of the human spirit.
* SurvivalistStash: Our heroes benefit from several of these. The most spectacular example is detailed in HopeSpot, above.
* ThrowTheDogABone: The boy [[spoiler: loses his father, his only source of joy, comfort, peace of mind, and protection. Just as the story sets him up to travel the world as TheAloner, the scavengers who'd shot at them earlier come to pick him up... and by [[PetTheDog all the available evidence]], they're trustworthy]].
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture
* TheUnreveal: What happened to the world and how it happened is only mentioned in bits and pieces, not enough to come to a conclusion. The novel is more about the eventual fate of its two characters more so than the mystery of the past.
* WhatTheHellHero: The father forces the thief who stole their gear to strip at gunpoint, then leaves him helpless beside the road. He will almost assuredly die painfully as a result. The boy lampshades this.
* YankTheDogsChain: See HopeSpot, above. Also, [[spoiler:they eventually reach the coast. There's nothing for them there]].

----
!!TheFilmOfTheBook also provides examples of:

* ActorAllusion: The Lonely Planet New Zealand guidebook on ViggoMortensen's bookshelf may be reference to TheFilmOfTheBook ''TheLordOfTheRings''.
* ArcWords: "Why are you following us?" or some variant thereof by various characters.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The colors are bleached to give a bleak, desolate, post-apocalyptic scenery.
* DuelingMovies: In contest with ''Film/TheBookOfEli (2010)''. Both are post-apocalyptic movies about a man safeguarding something he holds dear. Both movies emphasize the aspects of reaching a destination, lying South or West.
* {{Flashback}}: How CharlizeTheron is able to be in this movie.
* HeyItsThatGuy: [[TheLordOfTheRings Aragorn fighting flesh-eaters in the woods? We've seen that before.]] And look, he's mugging [[TheWire Omar Little!]]
* [[ItsAllAboutMe It's All About Me]]: The mother.
* NeverTrustATrailer: See also {{flashback}}, above.
* NickCave: Composed the soundtrack.
* OnlySaneMan: Some see the mother as this, since she preferred to die rather than struggle in this ruined world.
* RagnarokProofing: [[SurvivalistStash The only intact bunker]] the pair find also happens to have the only functioning lights they come across... for a few seconds.
** Since its about 10 years (more or less) AfterTheEnd, a lot of stuff has long since broken down. Though there's still plenty of ammo lying around...
*** [[RealityIsUnrealistic Bullets last for a remarkably long time.]]
** The house in the flashbacks, if you notice closely, gradually decays as time passes, from more-or-less pristine to a dilapidated shell of its former self. It also helps that some form of EMP shut down just about everything electronic from day one.
* '''RealIsBrown''': Combined with relentless SceneryGorn like woah. Much of the movie was filmed in an abandoned strip-mine, which is about as close as you can get to a RealLife post-apocalyptic wasteland.
* RoadMovie: Sort of.
* ScreamingBirth: When the mother goes into labor.
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: The boy
* ShoutOut: The Lonely Planet New Zealand guidebook. Australia and New Zealand are set up as possible safe havens in numerous post-apocalyptic works, including ''On The Beach'' and ''The Chrysalids''. In addition, TheFilmOfTheBook ''TheLordOfTheRings'' was filmed there. See also ActorAllusion.
* ThousandYardStare: Ye Gods.
* ThrowTheDogABone: On top of [[spoiler: the boy finding a new family in the end like in the book, birds and animals can be heard during the credits, assuring us that the world isn't completely dead and life will go on.]]
** On top of that,[[spoiler:it was mentioned in the beginning of the movie that every animal died.But they find a beetle towards the end.Not to forget,the family in the end has a rather healthy dog.]]

----
<<|{{Literature}}|>>
<<|{{Film}}|>>

to:

[[quoteright:280:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/theroad_2025.jpg]]

In 2006, prominent American novelist {{Cormac McCarthy}} published ''TheRoad'', a post-apocalyptic novel which garnered critical praise in America and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. The book is notable for a stark, minimalist style interspersed with occasional [[PurpleProse purple metaphors]]. The writing is idiomatic to say the least, eschewing most punctuation (including quotes) and occasionally including one-sentence chapters of philosophical musing.

Depending on whom you ask, ''The Road'' is either a melancholic but stirringly beautiful story about the goodness of humanity in a hopeless world, or a hellish nightmare so dark that no sane person would read it. [[TakeAThirdOption Or, it's just boring, repetitive, unpleasant, pretentious, and grammatically nonsensical]]. And if you enjoy breathing, never point out that this book, despite its premise, is not to be found in the [[SciFiGhetto science fiction section of the bookstore]]: [=McCarthy=] fans will get upset at the implication that High Literature would be grouped with Genre Fiction, and Genre fans will be upset because The Road is pretty tame when compared to the Post-Apocalyptic genre, as a whole.

Set after an unspecified global disaster, ''TheRoad'' follows two survivors, a man and his young son, who journey south through the smoking ashes of the United States, toward what they hope is a less dangerous country somewhere near the East Coast. During their ordeal, the man and the boy have only the rags on their backs and a cart of scavenged food. And one another. As they travel, they (and the audience) bear witness to a dead world, where nothing moves but the ashes in the breeze, nothing grows, and the sun is blacked out by a layer of poisonous ash. The only living beings except for them are the starving bands of men that stalk the road.

Like most of [=McCarthy's=] books, it was optioned for a film, and TheFilmOfTheBook ''TheRoad'' was released on November 25, 2009. It was directed by John Hillcoat, the director of ''TheProposition'', starring ViggoMortensen and CharlizeTheron (in a minor role). The score was done by NickCave and Warren Ellis (no, not ''that'' WarrenEllis).
----
!!The original novel TheRoad contains examples of:

* AfterTheEnd: One of the few such novels to actually make it look like mankind is on its way out. Not just scraping by, [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt but dying]].
* AntiHero: The Man might count. Though considering the world he lives in its understandable.
* ApocalypseAnarchy: The world has descended into chaos. It's the law of the jungle.
* ApocalypseHow: [[ApocalypseHow/{{Class 4}} Class 4]] - biosphere extinction has already occurred and the world is in the final stages of dying.
* ArcWords: The phrase "carrying the fire" is constantly repeated by the boy, doubling as a SurvivalMantra. The phrase also appeared in ''NoCountryForOldMen.''
* ArtisticLicenseBiology: It isn't widely known, but canned food is only safe to eat for five years. The man and his son should be at serious risk of contracting botulism by now.
** Debateable. The older cans are, the more likely they are to be unsafe, but if the cans are intact and were properly processed in the first place, the food can be safe for much longer. The US military recently opened and tested provisions canned in the 1950's and found them to still be safe.
* BeardOfBarbarism: Averted and played straight. Averted by the father, whose unkempt beard is mentioned a few times (typically right before he has the chance to shave it off). Played straight when the two main characters stumbled upon the ghoulish larder of a small band of cannibals at one point. As they flee, they briefly glimpse the larder's owners, and the only adjective used to describe the men is "bearded."
* BeigeProse
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: The man has died, but the boy finds a new, slightly more prosperous family to take care of him. Of course, they're still in a [[InferredHolocaust dying world.]] ]]
* BornLucky: The man suspects this of his son - as much as anyone can be BornLucky AfterTheEnd, anyway. By all the available evidence, he's right.
* CannibalClan: Most of humanity have starved to the point where they eat other humans, and it's implied that they will eventually die from sickness or starvation, or cannibalize each other until no one is left.
* CrapsackWorld: Less a WorldHalfEmpty than a world almost completely drained.
* CreepyBasement: And how!
* DeathWorld
* DespairEventHorizon: It's arguable whether our heroes are teetering on the edge, or jumped off a long time ago. Either way, [[spoiler:the discovery of the cannibal larder]] hits them both ''hard''.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:The mother, and the father still carries a gun with two bullets in case the urge becomes overwhelming for him too.]] Justified, given the situation.
* HappyFlashback: The man actively tries to discourage these. They just make him want to [[DrivenToSuicide end it]].
* HopeSpot: The father finds a still-stocked and untouched bomb shelter, giving them a short time with comfortable beds, food, and even showers. Since he knows others will find it as well, he doesn't stay long.
* ImAHumanitarian: The only way for most people to eat, now that the biosphere's dying out. The man and the boy are amongst the few survivors who ''don't'' indulge in this.
* IncurableCoughOfDeath: We see early on that the man has one, adding an extra layer of urgency to their journey.
* InferredHolocaust: Pretty much one of the reasons why the ending is so bittersweet. [[spoiler: Even though the boy is in good hands, ''the biosphere is dead.'' No one is going to live long once what is left of food is eaten and the remaining humans have all cannibalized each other.]]
* KickTheDog: When the father and son catch up [[spoiler: to the man who stole from them, the father engages in some DisproportionateRetribution, ordering him to strip naked and throw his belongings in their cart. This, in short, gave him a death sentence by hypothermia.]]
* MissingMom: The mother gave up hope and [[ParentalAbandonment left the family]].
* NamelessNarrative: No characters are named throughout the novel. Double subverted with an old tramp the man and his son meet at one point, who claims his name is Ely, before revealing it isn't, and that he doesn't want to tell them his real name.
* PapaWolf: The father.
* PetTheDog: A couple from [[spoiler:the scavengers who pick up the boy at the end of the book]], showing that they're safe and trustworthy people to be around. [[spoiler:They [[DueToTheDead cover the father with a blanket]] like they'd promised, and insist the boy keeps his gun when he tries to give it to them.]]
* RapeAsDrama: Alluded to as one of the many perils on the road - not least because it's often the precursor to [[ImAHumanitarian something worse]].
* ScavengerWorld: A kingdom for proper boots.
* SceneryGorn: So very much. In this world, ashes fall like snow.
* SchmuckBait: Averted. The man finds a jar of preserved fruit in an abandoned house. It looks very nice, but "other people hadn't trusted it, and in the end, neither did he."
* ShrugOfGod: [[WordOfGod The author]] has offered a few possible explanations for the world-ending disaster, and said that he himself has no opinion on the subject. See also TheUnreveal.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: There's a whole cottage industry that's sprung up around debating this question. As noted in the description, there's a group that believes the book is mind-shatteringly depressing. There's another group that believes TheRoad is, through all the death and misery, a chronicle of the strength and beauty of the human spirit.
* SurvivalistStash: Our heroes benefit from several of these. The most spectacular example is detailed in HopeSpot, above.
* ThrowTheDogABone: The boy [[spoiler: loses his father, his only source of joy, comfort, peace of mind, and protection. Just as the story sets him up to travel the world as TheAloner, the scavengers who'd shot at them earlier come to pick him up... and by [[PetTheDog all the available evidence]], they're trustworthy]].
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture
* TheUnreveal: What happened to the world and how it happened is only mentioned in bits and pieces, not enough to come to a conclusion. The novel is more about the eventual fate of its two characters more so than the mystery of the past.
* WhatTheHellHero: The father forces the thief who stole their gear to strip at gunpoint, then leaves him helpless beside the road. He will almost assuredly die painfully as a result. The boy lampshades this.
* YankTheDogsChain: See HopeSpot, above. Also, [[spoiler:they eventually reach the coast. There's nothing for them there]].

----
!!TheFilmOfTheBook also provides examples of:

* ActorAllusion: The Lonely Planet New Zealand guidebook on ViggoMortensen's bookshelf may be reference to TheFilmOfTheBook ''TheLordOfTheRings''.
* ArcWords: "Why are you following us?" or some variant thereof by various characters.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The colors are bleached to give a bleak, desolate, post-apocalyptic scenery.
* DuelingMovies: In contest with ''Film/TheBookOfEli (2010)''. Both are post-apocalyptic movies about a man safeguarding something he holds dear. Both movies emphasize the aspects of reaching a destination, lying South or West.
* {{Flashback}}: How CharlizeTheron is able to be in this movie.
* HeyItsThatGuy: [[TheLordOfTheRings Aragorn fighting flesh-eaters in the woods? We've seen that before.]] And look, he's mugging [[TheWire Omar Little!]]
* [[ItsAllAboutMe It's All About Me]]: The mother.
* NeverTrustATrailer: See also {{flashback}}, above.
* NickCave: Composed the soundtrack.
* OnlySaneMan: Some see the mother as this, since she preferred to die rather than struggle in this ruined world.
* RagnarokProofing: [[SurvivalistStash The only intact bunker]] the pair find also happens to have the only functioning lights they come across... for a few seconds.
** Since its about 10 years (more or less) AfterTheEnd, a lot of stuff has long since broken down. Though there's still plenty of ammo lying around...
*** [[RealityIsUnrealistic Bullets last for a remarkably long time.]]
** The house in the flashbacks, if you notice closely, gradually decays as time passes, from more-or-less pristine to a dilapidated shell of its former self. It also helps that some form of EMP shut down just about everything electronic from day one.
* '''RealIsBrown''': Combined with relentless SceneryGorn like woah. Much of the movie was filmed in an abandoned strip-mine, which is about as close as you can get to a RealLife post-apocalyptic wasteland.
* RoadMovie: Sort of.
* ScreamingBirth: When the mother goes into labor.
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl: The boy
* ShoutOut: The Lonely Planet New Zealand guidebook. Australia and New Zealand are set up as possible safe havens in numerous post-apocalyptic works, including ''On The Beach'' and ''The Chrysalids''. In addition, TheFilmOfTheBook ''TheLordOfTheRings'' was filmed there. See also ActorAllusion.
* ThousandYardStare: Ye Gods.
* ThrowTheDogABone: On top of [[spoiler: the boy finding a new family in the end like in the book, birds and animals can be heard during the credits, assuring us that the world isn't completely dead and life will go on.]]
** On top of that,[[spoiler:it was mentioned in the beginning of the movie that every animal died.But they find a beetle towards the end.Not to forget,the family in the end has a rather healthy dog.]]

----
<<|{{Literature}}|>>
<<|{{Film}}|>>
[[redirect:Literature/TheRoad]]
1st Apr '13 8:14:42 AM tromag
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Added DiffLines:

** Debateable. The older cans are, the more likely they are to be unsafe, but if the cans are intact and were properly processed in the first place, the food can be safe for much longer. The US military recently opened and tested provisions canned in the 1950's and found them to still be safe.
19th Mar '13 10:44:06 AM DavidCowie
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Added DiffLines:

* SchmuckBait: Averted. The man finds a jar of preserved fruit in an abandoned house. It looks very nice, but "other people hadn't trusted it, and in the end, neither did he."
5th Mar '13 7:16:33 PM eroock
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Added DiffLines:

* DuelingMovies: In contest with ''Film/TheBookOfEli (2010)''. Both are post-apocalyptic movies about a man safeguarding something he holds dear. Both movies emphasize the aspects of reaching a destination, lying South or West.
5th Mar '13 5:57:45 PM eroock
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Added DiffLines:

* ScavengerWorld: A kingdom for proper boots.
5th Mar '13 5:26:05 PM eroock
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* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The colors are bleached to give a bleak, desolate, post-apocalyptic scenery.


Added DiffLines:

* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The colors are bleached to give a bleak, desolate, post-apocalyptic scenery.
5th Mar '13 5:25:04 PM eroock
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Added DiffLines:

* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The colors are bleached to give a bleak, desolate, post-apocalyptic scenery.
4th Dec '12 8:14:00 PM eroock
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Added DiffLines:

* CreepyBasement: And how!
4th Dec '12 8:00:51 PM eroock
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* ApocalypseHow: [[ApocalypseHow/{{Class 4}} Class 4]]. Biosphere extinction has already occurred and the world is in the final stages of dying.

to:

* ApocalypseHow: [[ApocalypseHow/{{Class 4}} Class 4]]. Biosphere 4]] - biosphere extinction has already occurred and the world is in the final stages of dying.
4th Dec '12 7:59:48 PM eroock
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* ApocalypseHow: [[ApocalypseHow/Class4 Class 4]]. Biosphere extinction has already occurred and the world is in the final stages of dying.

to:

* ApocalypseHow: [[ApocalypseHow/Class4 [[ApocalypseHow/{{Class 4}} Class 4]]. Biosphere extinction has already occurred and the world is in the final stages of dying.
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