The Road Critical Essay Schools For Creative Writing Majors
that creates the precarious status of refugees on the move; it is rather the earth itself, which seems to be in a state of complete decay, having lost most of its resources and potentials.
As there is hardly any fertile vegetation left, the only way to survive is either to become a cannibal, or, like the man and his son, live mostly of canned goods, the rare remains of the pre-catastrophic era.
People on both ends of the spectrum, however, are marked by a certain “becoming-animal” (Deleuze and Guattari 257), that is, a mode of existence in which the classic opposition between nature and culture has largely disappeared.
Certainly, with respect to the boy’s and his father’s self-identification as those who “carry the fire,” there is a desire to maintain certain “forms” and “ceremonies” that might help to at least uphold the of civilized life9—a task, however, which becomes increasingly difficult to accomplish, for, as the narrator explains, the “names of things [are] slowly following those things into oblivion” (Mc Carthy 93).
In his novel from 2006, Cormac Mc Carthy explicitly picks up on the road motif, but does so in a totally different way and context.
In the novel’s post-apocalyptic setting, mobility has lost all implications of transgression, discovery, and the pleasures of flight, manifesting itself instead as a means of sheer survival.
And this, one can even detect in the survivalist discourse of the father, whose strong sense of endurance is constantly accompanied by thoughts about the inescapability of death and total extinction.Rather, it seems to be the only route left in a devastated and decaying environment marked by lethal violence and destruction, leaving no viable reason for hope and no way out.Though the man and his son—the novel’s two protagonists—eventually arrive at the coast by the end of the book, the road seems to literally represent a .Hence, from Frederick Jackson Turner’s “frontier thesis” to the countercultural imagination of (1969), various forms and styles of mobility are evoked as revitalizing forces able to counter tendencies of cultural apathy, stasis, and conformity.Along these lines, the motif of the road has a long history in American literary discourse, exemplified by classic texts such as Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of the Open Road,” Jack London’s hobo memoir (1957).Therefore, I seek to contextualize Mc Carthy’s refusal to idealize mobility somewhat differently, namely by placing the novel in the context of the new capitalism and the neoliberal culture of movement and time. Under the conditions of contemporary global capitalism, mobility thus seems to have lost its cultural value as a means to escape from repressive social assemblages and overstep rigid boundaries, since mobility itself has become the general rule to which almost everybody, in one way or another, has to conform.By thoroughly inverting the motif of the road, then, what Mc Carthy’s novel brings to the fore is a general discontent about the dated practice of naively idealizing mobility as an oppositional tool to escape authority, work, or the overall hardships of social life—especially in an environment in which all of these things have themselves become increasingly more fluid and flexible.as an actual attack on the cultural coordinates of the new capitalism, because, in another sense, the novel seems to thoroughly remain within the confines of the neoliberal imagination. (22-23) Among other things, what is striking about this passage is how the Coke, as maybe the last of its kind, is elevated here from an everyday product of mass consumer culture to a singular item, a rare artifact surrounded by a mystical aura.Along these lines, I now seek to discuss to what extent A useful way of approaching this theme would be through the conceptual lens of Mark Fisher’s notion of capitalist realism. It’s because I wont ever get to drink another one, isnt it? On the one hand, one can thus detect “a gesture of nostalgic reminiscence” (Donnelly 70) here, or even more so, the fetishization of an iconic consumer item.In this regard, the context of Mc Carthy’s apocalyptic scenario appears to be ontological or geo-philosophical rather than immediately political.10 Consequently, the reader finds out hardly anything about the catastrophic event that occurred in the past, being left with almost nothing but the brutal reality of “Mc Carthy’s blighted landscape,” which “offers only death” (Steven 69).Insofar as the novel’s setting is a post-political territory, then, in which the divisions are not anymore those between the included and the excluded, the sovereign power and bare life, or citizens and refugees, but rather those between (equally animalized) cannibals and their prey, the analogy to the contemporary refugee question has its limits.