Hopeful Hell: The Search For Hope In A Post Apocalyptic World

2434 words - 10 pages

Death and destruction are the epitome of a doomed world. Everything is destroyed and murders march the streets at night. Hell on earth is a gentle description. Cormac McCarthy's speculation of the end of the world, however, ensures that evil is not victorious. The biblical allusions Cormac McCarthy addresses in The Road illuminate a sense of hope in a bleak, empty world.
Despite a grim first impression, the repetitive imagery of ash represents hope according to symbolism found in the Bible. Ash becomes a natural setting, described throughout the whole book, with a seemingly melancholy mood. McCarthy introduces ash within the first pages: “Everything paling away into the murk. The soft ash blowing in loose swirls over the blacktop” (McCarthy 4). Normally, the connotations of ash create a dark gloomy atmosphere. McCarthy's intentional diction in this passage, however, create an opposing mood. The phrases “soft ash” and “loose swirls” create a relaxed image, allowing the ash to be interpreted in a hopeful manner. This hopefulness is enforced by the symbolism of ash in the Bible. After Adam and Eve committed the first sin, God warns them of his power, “For dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19). First of all, this verse exemplifies the great power of God. He created the complex human body out of mere dust. In relation to The Road, the ash represents the presence of a great power. This brings hope to the father and the son, knowing that the ability to create something out of the ash exists.
Similarly, the concept of fire found throughout the novel, although serving as a representation of destruction, sheds light on the underlying theme of hope. We are led to believe, through various descriptions, that the world was destroyed by a large meteorite, leaving the whole world to burn down in flames (Schaub). McCarthy brings this image to reality as the father and the son walk through a town where the corpses are melted into the tar (McCarthy 190). Despite these horrifying images, the pair rely on the concept of fire to keep them going. The phrase “carrying the fire” becomes a cliché for the father and the son, relating it to a prayer (Kunsa). This repetitive phrase gives them purpose and hope in their journey (Rambo). In addition, the image of fire represents a concept of spirit that the son is able to understand (Schaub). By believing in the goodness of fire, the son can believe in a spirit greater than himself, which without fire it would difficult to find. Just as the fire acts as a spiritual guide in The Road, it was also used as a guide in a biblical passage. After the escape from Egypt, Moses led the Israelites through the desert, day and night. During the night, God provided a pillar of fire for guidance and protection (Exodus 21). This brings hope to the novel, because God is guiding the father and the son, through the concept of fire, to a better ending.
An obvious source of hope throughout the entire novel is revealed...

Find Another Essay On Hopeful Hell: The Search for Hope in a Post-Apocalyptic World

Security in a Post September 11th World

2628 words - 11 pages Prepare is to lessen the impact of a terrorist attack, when such an attack cannot be prevented. This goal calls for the equipping, training and exercising of emergency services to reduce the impact if terrorists are successful in an attack. Through the efforts of Canada and the United Kingdom, one can see many nations are joining the United States in new security efforts of the post 9/11 world. The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 may

A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America

2495 words - 10 pages conspiracy theories or see them as symptoms of a devastated nation and disparage them. Fortunately, Americans still have the freedom to choose…at least for now… Works Citied Avery, D. (2005) Loose Change. [video] Winchester, Hampshire: The University of Winchester. Available at http://learn2.winchester.ac.uk/mod/resource/view.php?id=142602 [Accessed 1 December 2013] Barkum, M. (2003) A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in

The Search for a Better Reality

1078 words - 4 pages Monk Kidd and Katie Crouch mention different methods that the main characters in their books used throughout their lives as a way to escape from the sometimes unpleasant reality. For example, Lily Owens would read books whenever she got the chance (pg. 15) because they would allow her to live in a different world, where she was not being abused, or degraded. Also, they were her only hope of becoming someone in the future (pg. 16), and escaping

THE SEARCH FOR ENTERTAINMENT: LEISURE ACTIVITIES A

2827 words - 11 pages THE OUTLINE THESIS SENTENCE: Although life was difficult and the amount of hard work was high, children and adults were able to find time for leisure activities and recreation in Colonial America, and were eventually able to expand on both the amount and forms of entertainment.I. Most colonial families lived on a farm, and although the children had to help out as much as they could, they found time to enjoy themselves.A. Children often turned

An essay about the Apocalyptic visions in Beowulf.

1915 words - 8 pages In folktales, legends, mythology, and even the Bible, people are told stories about Hero's and their unimaginable strength, wisdom, and power. Beowulf is a great example of this, the poor young eponymous hero is left alone in the woods to survive on his own and then he overcomes all of these to kill three mythological beasts, save two entire countries and live as king of a country for over fifty years of peace and prosperity. Now that in its own

Expert Opinions in the Search for Knowledge

1605 words - 6 pages Throughout recorded history, societies and populations across the world have relied on individuals regarded as ‘experts’ and their valued opinions to provide insight and clarification to aid the search for knowledge. This essay will assess the importance of opinions by people deemed to have a certain expertise in terms of the search for knowledge. In the question ‘how important are the opinions of experts in the search for knowledge?’ the terms

The Search for Truth in Voltaire's "Candide"

1467 words - 6 pages comes out of life.Pangloss is a very hopeful character in the story because he refuses to accept bad. He is also somewhat naive and believes that he could make the world a better place by spreading his theories on optimism. When Candide had met up with Pangloss after a long period of time, Pangloss said that he was almost hanged, then dissected, then beaten. Candide asked the philosopher if he still thought that everything was for the better

The Search for Humanity in Europe

707 words - 3 pages Hank DelisonDr. R. KeelerAnt. 101-01May 24, 2013The search for humanity in EuropeOur textbook, "Essentials of Physical Anthropology" on page 246 tells us that the distant ancestors of modern humans migrated out of Africa at least 1.8 mya in the form of Homo erectus. But that was in Dmanisi, Republic of Georgia, and while this could be termed Europe it is quite a bit to the east of what is considered Europe today. Our book goes on to describe the

The search for god in eight ch

973 words - 4 pages The Search for God in Eight Chapters In Eight Chapters by Maimonides, there seems to be a lot of confusion when dealing with the existence of God and man's perception of him. Maimonides was trying to provide a strong basis for the belief that God was above man, but instead he only succeeds in stating obvious facts that fail to show a complete understanding of the subject.Maimonides does admit to the fact that metaphysics has yet to correctly

The Search for Religious Freedom in America

2160 words - 9 pages in examining Irish grievances. When Calvert converted to Catholicism, he renounced his position as secretary of state, as Catholics were not allowed to hold positions in British government. For his faithful service, King Jame I gave Calvert the Irish title of Baron Baltimore (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2014). Calvert initially purchased a farm in Newfoundland, which he called Avalon. He was determined to bring Catholicism to the area, but

The Misconceptions of Hope in Economics and Finance: A Hidden Message of Hope for the Little Fish of a Brighter Economic Future

1949 words - 8 pages The cover of this issue of The Economist depicts one of the greatest misconceptions I have encountered regarding economics and finance in my professional career as quantitative analyst as well as in my personal pursuits regarding the subject matter. “Hope” for a brighter economic future is depicted as a center piece of “White Light”, whereas the politicians that the world population of “Little Fish” looks to for answers are far

Similar Essays

Post World War I: Looking For Hope

538 words - 2 pages The age of anxiety was the period between the first world war and the second world war. This was a time when people were uneasy and looking for some kind of identity for themselves. Additionally, the loss of human faith and reason led to a new interest in religion. People wanted to know exactly why was the first world war fought? After the first world war, modern philosophy looked farther into that question by stating that, all humans were bad

The Search For Truth In A Tale Of Two Cities

2888 words - 12 pages The Search for Truth in A Tale of Two Cities           "Since before the ancient Greeks, mankind has striven to discern and define truth, a noble if somewhat arduous task"( Swisher 118). Even modern society, despite losing so many of the old, "prudish" morals of preceding generations, still holds truth as one of the greatest virtues and to find truth in life, one of the greatest accomplishments. Authors such as Charles Dickens

The Search For A True Scientist In Big Science

3569 words - 14 pages questions the answers; the scientific method. Ideally the driving force for science work should be "the fact we can know more than we can tell. "The primary goal of the scientist should be to extend the borders of human knowledge of nature. Scientist play a pivotal role as navigators and pioneers in the search for natural truth. This though has become increasingly difficult as they no longer are free to pursue their endeavour as two intertwined

The Search For A Home In Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

2453 words - 10 pages positively, Mansfield becomes a visual representation of family.  The novel's title, more an abstraction than a reference to place, attempts to define "home," an idea in the novel not contained by place.                In Mansfield Park, what defines home becomes the essential question for Fanny Price.  The estate as a reflection of self is a prominent theme in the novel.  Henry Crawford's suggestions for improving