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Cannibalism In Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

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After difficulties and hardships, only a person’s true character remains. In Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel The Road, the father and son balance between their earnest scavenge for food and a dying code of human ethics. Taking place in world with no resources remaining, the types of meals throughout the novel symbolizes the survivors’ changing, or persisting, values and integrity. Throughout their journey, the father and son’s shared meals offers insight into the old world’s enduring morals. When the pair share “hard and brown and shriveled” apples found in a barn, the relic from the past suggests that, perhaps, goodness still exists (121). The ancient apples, a symbol of knowledge and temptation, implies how wisdom about teaching …show more content…
When the man and son find a house filled with people pleading for help, the house’s description conveys the immorality and desperation of cannibalism. Similar to how the kitchen in the house has “trash piled everywhere,” the post-apocalyptic world has no signs of life or resources (108). As a result, people have resorted to catching and eating other people which fills the place with “an ungodly stench” (110). The word “ungodly” describes how humans have turned wicked and unholy in exchange for survival. In a dying house, or world, human perpetuate their destruction by forsaking values such as loyalty, sacrifice, and honor. Cannibalism, unfortunately considered a meal, symbolizes how barbaric someone can turn into in times of despair. The conveniently changing definition of what constitutes as a meal, such as a “charred human infant,” offers an opportunity to survive, although no longer as a human (198). As a result, these meals symbolize the degradation of values that separate humans from other animals. Ironically, cannibalism suggests a paradox since the survivors clearly value their lives, which motivates their search for food, but can view someone’s else life, such as their own offsprings, as a means of nutrients. The act of cannibalism highlights how principles that values everyone’s life and worth form a core foundation of the human

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