Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Post Apocalyptic World Viewed Through a Film Scene

In the novel, the gray, new world is described as being empty and filled with ash.  If I were to construct a movie scene to show how the new world is after the apocalypse I would use a setting of an empty highway.  Highways are usually filled with people in cars so I would take all that away to show how empty the world has become.  I would also sprinkle gray ashes over everything like it describes in the novel.  My setting would also have burned down trees and houses on the side of the road to show how everything in human civilization is gone.  The lighting of this scene would be dark and smokey, but in the distance there would be some light shining down the road to show that the road is going to make several appearances in the movie.  The sky would be a dark gray and the light shining down the road would be very dim due to the sun being hidden behind by the gray sky.  The costumes that I would chose the father and son to wear would be blue jeans and pastel colored T-shirts.  I would do this because it is a plain outfit that fits well into the scene.  It reminds the viewer that there is very little color in the new world after the apocalypse.  The book also repetitively brings up the father and sons parkas so I would have them wearing parkas unzipped over their shirts.  For this scenes make-up I would rub gray ash on their faces and arms.  I would then add a few small scars to both the father and son to show that they have been through a lot.  The father and sons hair would be shaggy and long because they do not have a knife to cut it.  The father would also have a messy beard.  The long hair and unshaved beard would show how long they have been stuck living in the horrible new world.  It would also teach the reader that there is very little resources still left on earth.  Finally the characters would be slowly walking down the side of the road.  The father would be carrying the son on his back to show how tired the son was.  They would also be pushing a shopping cart filled with blankets,toys and food.  I would add some diagenic noise to the scene by adding a rickety sound of the shopping cart because it is the only thing they can hear for miles.  All these elements together play a part in describing what is going on in the film to the viewer.  The new world is empty and filled with ash.  The scene has to show that by adding no civilization besides the father and his son.              

McCarthy's Apocalyptic World

In this novel, McCarthy creates a world after the apocalypse by using many fragments and similes to describe the dark world the father and son live in.  On page one it says "Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before.  Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world."  This is a very interesting way to open up the story because it goes right into talking about how dark and gray the world after the apocalypse is.  The next line compares the world to glaucoma dimming away the world.  This is a very interesting way of explaining how the world they used to know is slowly losing everything.  On page two it says "With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south.  Barren, silent, godless."  Throughout the novel McCarthy uses many fragments to describe the literal world that the two people are living in.  This quotes fragment emphasizes how empty the world after the apocalypse is  by using words like godless and barren.  McCarthy does a really good job giving the reader a clear image of how horrible the new world is by using fragments to describe the literal world he is creating.  When creating the book McCarthy had to consider descriptions that would emphasize how hard it is to survive.  Instead of using sentences that made that obvious he chose to make the story more interesting.  He used fragments and a reoccurring image of an empty road.  The road that is brought up on almost every page helps the reader understand how it is the only thing that the father and son have left from civilization.  The road is described as being empty and gray.  This gives the reader an image of loneliness.  Overall, McCarthy describes the literal world by using fragments and similes.  He repetitively describes the world he has created as being gray and empty which reminds the reader how awful the new world must be.  The repetitive use of the description gray and black remind the reader of how dark the world is.  McCarthy is an author that is not afraid to repeat things he has already written.  Therefore, we keep getting reminded of how barren the world he has created is by the use of his fragments.

People Remember so That They can Forget

    "There is no past.  What would you like?  But he stopped making things up because those things were not true either and the telling made him feel bad."  (54)  In our world people are able to revisit the past through objects and other peoples stories.  In the book the apocalypse turned the world into a dark, ashy place with barely anything left to spark memories of their old lives.  When the father says that there is no past he means that the world they are living in is so different that past memories are now just fantasies of things he will never experience again.  Throughout the story his son has asked him to tell stories.  People tell stories to forget the bad reality.  In the book The Road I believe that the father and his son need memories to keep them alive.  The child is too young to have a lot of memories of the past world and therefore needs stories to "relive" these happy times.  The memories of the old world keep stability for the father.  The reason he still believes in God is because of the good memories from the past.  On page 26 the father revisited his old house and remembered things like where the Christmas stockings used to be and where his bedroom was.  This is one example of how the story uses places to trigger old memories for the father.  After a while you would think that the father and his son would forget everything from the past world after living so long in the lonely world they live in now.  Memory is used frequently throughout the book because if they loose their ability to remember old times it takes away the hope of them being able to live like that again.  In the book the memories give them hope and help the two survive.    

Pages 53-72

 "Eyes collard in cups of grime and deeply sunk.  Like an animal inside a skull looking out the eyeholes." (63)
       "The boy was so frail and thin through his coat, shivering like a dog." (67)

This is a parallel because it describes people like they are animals.  This is interesting because in the new world after the apocalypse a lot of human behaviors were forgotten.  People were dehumanized and had a survival of the fittest mentality.  The stranger they run into is described as looking like an animal inside a skull looking out the eyeholes.  Personally I think this describes him as being in a predator v.s. prey situation.  In the other passage the young boy is described as shivering like a dog.  This parallels to the other simile because the boy is also being described like he is an animal.  In many ways the new world they are forced to live in does dehumanize them and they are forced to live off the land just like animals do.

 " For the love of God, woman." (58)
" mother:  We used to talk about death, she said.  We don't anymore.  Why is that?
father: I don't know
mother:  It's because it's here.  There's nothing left to talk about.
father:  I wouldn't leave you.
mother:  I don't care.  It's meaningless.  You can think of me as a faithless slut if you like.  I've taken a new lover.  He can give me what you cannot." (56-57)

This compares the opinion of the husband and the wife.  The wife does not believe in a God anymore and wants to die, but the husband thinks this is not the right way.  He thinks there is still a God out there and that is why he says "  For the love of God woman."  The woman says that she found a new lover which is death, but the husband does not agree with this.  The wife personifies death in this section.  She does not think the world makes sense anymore and therefore takes her own life.  The two sections are a contrast because is compares the difference of beliefs between the husband and the wife.  If there was an apocalypse and the world was filled with chaos and destruction it would be hard to still believe in God.  The husband shows that it is still possible, but sadly the wife loses all hope.    

Do you think the wife killed herself to help her husband and son stay alive?
Why didn't the son keep the mom alive like it did for the dad?

Pages 31-53

 " He unsnapped the throat of his parka and lowered the hood and stood listening.  The wind in the dead black stands of hemlock.  The empty parking lot at the overlook.  The boy stood beside him.  Where he'd stood once with his own father in a winter long ago.  What is it, Papa? the boy said.  Its the gap.  This is it." (33)
        " Wow, the boy said.  He couldn't take his eyes off it.  He squatted and scooped up a handful of stones and smelled them and let them fall clattering.  Polished round and smooth as marbles or lozenges of stone veined and striped.  Black disclets and bits of polished quartz all bright from the mist off the river.  The boy walked out and squatted and laved up the dark water..." (38)

This parallel shows the father and his son making two discoveries in the new world they are stuck in.  The Cumberland Gap was part of American history and was discovered by some of the first colonies in America.  This is ironic because the father and his son are forced to rediscover America after the apocalypse.  When the first American colonies came they traveled through woods and rivers to find new land.  When the boy and his dad discover the waterfall on page 38 they are amazed at their new discovery.  The is a parallel to when they arrived at the Gap because it is two situations where they discover new places in nature in a world that they thought lost everything from its past.  Something that is very interesting about this parallel is that people and technology change, but nature always stays the same.  The parallel emphasizes the importance of nature in the book and in our world.

  .." I had a bad dream.  I had this penguin that you wound up and it would waddle and flip its slippers.  And we were in that house that we used to live in and it came around the corner but nobody had wound it up and it was really scary."  "Then he said: The winder wasn't turning." (36-37)

This section of the story is a contrast with the whole book in general.  The child's bad dream represents human nature falling apart.  When the penguin was winding and waddling the boy envisioned himself in his old house and there was human civilization.  When the penguin stopped waddling it was not alive and therefore it showed a loss of hope for human nature.  On page 36 the boy also asks why he had such a scary dream and the father responds by saying he does not know, but to go to sleep.  The father has not lost hope and is fighting for survival.

What makes a person want to survive when everything else is gone?
What causes this scary dream to occur at this point in time in the book?

Pages 1-31

 The father brings his son to revisit his old house. (26)
 "..he read old newspapers while the boy slept.  The curious news." (28)

In both of these passages the father chooses to revisit the past.  He clearly misses how things used to be therefore he uses objects to remind him of how good the world used to be.  Memory is valued a lot in the book and this parallel shows how America used to be and how big parts of civilization have been forgotten.  When the father and his son visited his old house he remembered memories of Christmas and where he used to sleep.  In the new world that the father and son are trying to survive in there are no holidays or a place to call their bedroom.  They are always on the move and fighting for survival.  The old newspapers and the fathers old house were both used in triggering old memories.  This is a parallel that shows how America has changed and the two objects are now only memories and not reality.

  "No one traveled on this road.  No road-agents, no marauders." (16)
"He kept constant watch behind him in the mirror.  The only thing that moved in the streets was the blowing ash." (24)

This is a contrast because the father is constantly looking in his mirror for safety, but repetitively does not see anything.  In the book the father and the son are the only people we have seen alive in the book thus far.  In many passages it describes the earth as being barren, dark and filled with ash.  It also talks about how empty the road is.  The father knows that they do not have any company, but the author decides to use this contrast because he wants to emphasize how much the father cares about his sons safety.  He is so paranoid about someone hurting his son that he continuously looks back just to ensure his sons well being.  It also makes the reader question what encounters he has had during the apocalypse that we do not know about to give him this fear.  The contrast also shows that he is a cautious father because he is the only one on the road, but wants the reassurance by peering through the mirror attached to his cart.

Do you think it is a necessity to have goals for survival?
What past experiences do we not know about that the father has experienced to make him so paranoid about running into other people?