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Biblical Allusions in ”The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

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Throughout the novel The Road, Cormac McCarthy uses religious symbolism. This literary technique uses references to religion in the book. These references are also called Biblical Allusions. One biblical allusion in The Road directs to a named Ely and what he thinks about the world as it is now, and how humans symbolize God’s prophets on page 170. He does not believe in God. Ely then says that he sees the boy as a God on page 172. Another example of religious symbolism in The Road can be when the father states “curse God and die” on page 114. This biblical allusion refers to Job and his troubles from the bible.

The father and the boy eventually meet a man named Ely on the road. McCarthy describes him by saying “He looked like a pile of rags fallen off a cart” (page 162). Ely talks a lot about God, and how he has forsaken the human race. On page 169, Ely says “Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave”. Ely himself does not even believe in God. On page 170, Ely and the man have a deep religious conversation. The father eventually says “I guess God would know it. Is that it?” Ely replies saying “There is no God” The father questions Ely, “No?” Then finally, Ely says “There is no God and we are his prophets”. That quote in the book has a strong significance. It basically means that we as humans symbolize God’s prophets. “We” meaning all the humans who survived the apocalypse. And by Ely saying there is no God, all of us humans as prophets are worthless, since there is no God, according to Ely. That quote also has a strong impact on the reader. It gives the reader a sense of pity for all of the humans who have survived the disaster, because they are somewhat stuck on Earth with no purpose of life. Ely then goes to say “When I saw that boy I thought that I had died. “What if I said that he’s a God?” (page 172) Ely had not seen a child in very long. And Ely could see the fire that the boy carried within him.

On Page 114, one can notice another biblical allusion. The man speaks to himself in his mind and he goes on to say “Now is the time. Curse God and die”. This biblical quote refers to Job and his wife. Job went through hard times in his life, and eventually, for all the problems to stop, his wife told him to “Curse God and die.” Job obeyed God all his life, and he would never curse God. But this term shows how the man thought to himself to “curse God and die” so that all of his life problems and hardships would just stop. In my opinion, this quote of the book has a strong impact on the story’s plot. Many things change at this point and time in the plot and the “bad guys” come very close to killing the boy and the man, and the man’s thoughts change.

In Summary, Cormac McCarthy’s use of literary techniques like religious symbolism impact both the reader and the story’s plot. Cormac McCarthy’s overall minimalistic writing adds much suspense and realism to the book.

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