Respond to one or more of the following questions:
- This book/film is about two people whose names we never learn who are traveling through anonymous places on a journey to yet another indistinct place, but I think that most people who read this book or watch the film do indeed care about these people. What makes us care about this man and this boy?
- I have had many students tell me that this is a depressing story. I have argued in response that the entire story is actually about hope. Make this argument for me—explain how this story about a depressing situation is actually a meditation on hope and love.
- In the last third of the story the man has a lengthy philosophical conversation with an old man that the man and boy meet upon the road. Summarize this conversation and explain what it means.
- I believe that this tale teeters on the edge of becoming a cheesy, clichéd post-apocalyptic story from beginning to end, and I think that the way it ends is brilliant. Near the end of the narrative, McCarthy’s story seems to be stuck between a story that is so bleak that no one would want to read it or watch it (everyone dies) or so happy that the readers/viewers would feel like they were being “sold a bill of goods” (the man and boy walk over a line of dunes and see a colony with green fields, modern medicine, and functional government). Describe how you feel about the end, and explain what makes it a satisfactory (or unsatisfactory) ending, in your opinion.