Post-apocalyptic life is something that people have feared and prepared for ages. Many people have predicted the end of the world. Many people have wondered how the world will continue after the apocalypse. In The Road, Cormac McCarthy provides the reader with some cultural values that will ensure the humanity is kept alive and some that will destroy it. Maturity is needed in a post-apocalyptic life. Without it, no one would take a leadership role and guide the people. With maturity, compassion is needed to ensure that humanity is not lost. Compassion is what people do when they care for the people that are in a lesser position. When everyone cares for those who can’t provide for themselves, things will balance themselves out. There are some cultural values that won’t advance the already dying human race. Any coward will not survive in these conditions that are portrayed in McCarthy’s novel. McCarthy has values that he thinks are essential to post-apocalyptic life; he believes that cowardness should be avoided while maturity and compassion should be promoted.
Maturity is one of the more important cultural values that are present in The Road. The boy is the character in the story that most shows growth in maturity. “He dove and grabbed the boy and rolled and came up holding him against his chest with the knife at his throat. The man had already dropped to the ground and he swung with him and leveled the pistol and fired… The man fell back instantly and lay with blood bubbling from the hole in his forehead. The boy was lying in his lap with no expression on his face at all.” (McCarthy) This is the first time the boy had experienced two things that change a person’s perspective on their own life, as well as other people’s lives. In this scenario, he experienced a near-death experience and somebody else’s death. The threat dying is traumatizing for the boy because it happened right next to him. And to add insult to injury, this killing was caused by the father of the boy. The father who the boy thinks is perfect and would never do anything wrong just killed a threatening man who had his boy in his arms. The fact that he just laid there not saying anything with no expression shows that something changed in him. He has dealt with death and almost dying at once. Another example is way at the end of the book where the boy goes through his father’s death. The boy is with his father and listens to his father as he gives him advice for life without him. The boy knows his father is dying and he knows he will have to live without him. This experience will mature him the most because it his father. The one person he loves and cares for and thinks perfectly of dies in front of him. It will hurt him but it matured him for the future. I don’t think the boy would be fazed as much with any other death now that he has gone through the death of the most important person to him. McCarthy shows that you need to be matured in a post-apocalyptic life, or it will mature you for you
Cormac McCarthy shows compassion as a well needed cultural value in a world full of hate. The father finds a Coca-Cola can. This symbolizes how good times were when he drank coke and relaxed. “He sat and ran his hand around in the works of the gutted machines and in the second on it closed over a cold metal cylinder. He withdrew his hand slowly and sat looking at a Coca Cola. What is it, Papa? It’s a treat. For you.” (McCarthy) The father found a Coca-Cola and gave it to his son. This may not seem like a huge deal, but, in times like these, it’s incredibly generous and compassionate for the father to give this coke to his son. Once the dad sees this Coke, he is reminded of the good times when Coke was available. He could’ve told the boy, who knew nothing about Coca-Cola, that it was disgusting. The boy would have believed him and not have wanted any of it. But the dad gave something that he must have loved drinking to the boy, who never knew