The Importance Of Birds In The Road, By Cormac Mccarthy

Words: 573
Pages: 3

Humans are the only creatures left living on Earth, but traces of birds appear many times throughout the novel. In Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road the absence of birds represents the lack of freedom in this apocalyptic world. The father and the boy are restricted to this world with no opportunity and no future. They are forced to focus on surviving and have no feeling of actually living.
“Once in those early years he’d wakened in a barren wood and lay listening to flocks of migratory birds overhead in that bitter dark (...) He wished them godspeed till they were gone. He never heard them again.(53 McCarthy)” According to Thomas C. Foster, birds stand for freedom. He states in his book How to Read Literature Like a Professor, “Flying is freedom, we might say, freedom not only from specific circumstances but from those more general burdens that tie us down.” (135 Foster) In The Road the boy and father are faced with
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“In the nights sometimes now he’d wake in the black and freezing waste out of softly colored worlds of human love, the songs of birds, the sun.” (272 McCarthy). He has to wake himself up from dreams of peace, love, and freedom to remind himself of reality; that he can only think of the road and his son’s safety. Any memory of the past only holds him back and ties him down, he must do his best to stay focused on the meaning of life.
Freedom can also be associated with a feeling of hope. As his life starts to etiolate the father feels as though, “The world is shrinking down about a raw core of parsible entities. The names of things slowly following those things into oblivion. Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat.” When the father states that he feels as though everything is fading, even something as simple as the “names of birds”, the reader can sense a loss of hope for the future. This excerpt alludes to the father's death because of his condescending connotation of birds fading into