Similarities In Cormac Mc Carthy’s ‘The Road’ And Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes

2481 words - 10 pages

The Road’ is a post-apocalyptic novel of a father and son’s journey through a scorched horror-scape blasted by an unspecified catastrophe that left ash dispensing from the sky, no visible sun and only a few of civilisation - most have turned into cannibals . Nineteen Minutes’ is similar to ‘The Road’, as there are survivors, but after a specified cataclysm, a high-school massacre, in which Peter, a bully victim, carried out in nineteen minutes, killing ten and wounding nineteen – the guileless and his tormentors. Consequently, beautiful passages may seem to be dependent on violence and depravity as it’s the aftermath of a terrible event they overcame, their light at the end of the tunnel ...view middle of the document...

This is because previously he’d lie alone in bed at night remembering “the proven successes” as “potential failures”. When he got to the “vandalized barn or found the stolen car stripped down and dumped in the woods or handed the tissue to the sobbing girl who’d been date-raped” he felt he was too late “He was a detective, but he didn’t detect anything. It fell into his lap, already broken, every time”. As a result, that single sign of ‘unbroken’ life amongst the dead was enough to move something in him, enough to make the other lost lives less significant. Even for that moment Patrick had abandoned his ‘hopelessness’ like the man had abandoned his suppression, giving the readers hope in their own lives.

Additionally, in ‘The Road’ the man initially saved three bullets in his pistol, one for his wife, his child and himself to use in case they were captured “they are going to rape us and kill us and eat us…”. However, an unknown circumstance left them with two, in which his wife used despite his pleas “she was gone and the coldness of it was her final gift’. She had lost all hope long ago: "We used to talk about death…We don't anymore. Why is that?" When he doesn't respond she answers "It's because it's here. There's nothing left to talk about". This signifies unfathomable isolation they are stranded in as with nothing new to talk about in a lost world, death was the main matter. Now they were the “walking dead in a horror movie” with nothing more to live for.

Nevertheless, the man had his child “the one thing I can tell you is that you won’t survive for yourself”, but when the time comes could he really shoot him? What if it doesn’t fire? Could he really “crush that beloved skull with a rock”? “Is there such a being within you of which you know nothing? Can there be? Hold him in your arms. Just so. The soul is quick”. Although, the thought of the man killing his son is ruthless, McCarthy's choice of diction creates a compassionate tone as the man feels he has reject his ‘selfish’ reasons to prevent the boy from suffering much worse. Furthermore, the beauty does depend on the brutality as it reminds the readers about Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac and God sacrificing Jesus, all for the greater good. Likewise, in ‘Nineteen Minutes’, Picoult raises daunting questions, for example, “Can you hate someone for what they have done, but still love them for whom they had been?” Lacy, Peter’s mother and a midwife was faced with this when a patient didn’t want a mother of a murderer to deliver her child. Later on she recalls the time when she viscerally hated her son. She didn’t usually clean the house “a house that was lived in was preferential to one that was sterile-unless company was coming over; then pride kicked in”. She had cleaned Peter’s room, folded his laundry but when he arrived “God! I’m supposed to put all this away?” slammed his bedroom door so loud that the house shook around her. She hadn’t expected that so hurried to him, “What’s...

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