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Elit 48 c class 40 post qhq Elit 48 c class 40 post qhq Presentation Transcript

  • ELIT 48C Class 40 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= lich59xsjik Whale/Wales Where/wear White/wite
  •  http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Whale
  • Chair Poet? 'I consider myself a poet first and a musician second. I live like a poet and I'll die like a poet.' Bob Dylan
  • Agenda The Road: Postmodernism? Or something new? The Age of Terror The apocalypse Themes
  •  Set in a conceivable future, after a global catastrophe, The Road tells the story of a father and a son as they tread along a forsaken highway awash with marauders and cannibals.  It is perhaps the most chilling commentary of the post- 9/11 world. The post-apocalyptic setting plays upon the public’s fear of terrorism, pandemics, genocide, and weapons of mass destruction.  We can also hear the poetic passages of desolation and are reminded of Dante’s descent into hell or T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.  McCarthy also wrestles with the ever-present question of the existence of God: the father tells the boy, “There is no God and we are his prophets.”
  • The Setting  The Road is set in some undetermined location.  There is mention of distant mountains, several rivers and creeks, the Piedmont (a plain that runs along the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains), and a coastline.  The landscape and the air are soaked in thick, gray ash.  Vegetation has been destroyed. There are no fish in the water.  When snow falls, it collects the ash in the air and falls to the earth already gray.
  • Discuss the means of destruction, themes and tensions, and the postmodern condition Five minutes!
  • What caused the devastation of the land? Provide the clues you used to come to your conclusion.
  • The eruption of a super-volcano or impact of massive asteroid or many asteroids would probably be enough to cause this type of devastation, including the ash/cold/gray skies/fires everywhere. There’s one glimpse of a flashback offered that would have me lean a bit towards the asteroid theory: “The clocks stopped at 1: 17. A long shear of light and then a series of low concussions. … He went into the bathroom and threw the lightswitch but the power was already gone. A dull rose glow in the windowglass.” (McCarthy 485) It seems like an asteroid strike that he witnessed out of his window. Volcano or asteroid?
  • Volcanic Eruption Cold, ash, grey, dead; the repetitions of these words are the main leads. [. . .] The harsh November winter was already upon by the time we reach the end of the first half and it was snowing. The man’s observation of the snow is the most obvious clue as to whether a volcanic eruption came over the land: “The snow lay deep and gray. Already there was a fresh fall of ash on it” (McCarthy 99). Besides this there are frequent mentions of ash covered grounds: “The city was mostly burned. No sign of life. Cars in the street caked with ash, everything covered with ash and dust.” (12) Ash fall is the result of a massive volcanic eruption. It traps whatever moisture there is and prevents any form of growth in the land, which could explain why the land remained as dead as it is even after such a long time. This reminds me of Pompeii, the ancient city of Rome that was trapped in an eternal frozen state when a nearby volcano had erupted. Then again, the scale of this speculated eruption is not so catastrophic as to overlay the whole land in ash because there are still survivors and so far I had not seen description of crusted lava or recollections of fire.
  •  My theory that leads me to conclude that was the destruction was a nuclear bomb because bombs are “impenetrable” (15) and they can kill inhabitants within seconds of exposure. [. . .] The book also mentioned “night” [and] “black smoke” as well as darkness (McCarthy 89). Fire, smoke, and ashes are mentioned many times in the book, giving obvious clues. Besides that, it is evident in McCarthy’s use of language. He defies all the traditional use of quotations and instead writes the dialogue as a fragmentation, as part of the postmodern period . It illustrates a destruction of language. Nuclear Bomb?
  •  The devastation of the land is so ashen that it indicates a mass burning of the world which a nuclear blast would accomplish. The man describes a moment where his family “sat at the window and ate in their robes by candlelight a midnight supper and watched distant cities burn” (50). He continues this motif by describing the music his son played on a flute he crafted as “the last music on earth called up from out the ashes of its ruin” (66). There are numerous occasions where the man refers to the land as “dead and gray,” and even the sky as being perpetually complimentary to the burnt landscape (100). There was even a scene (I tried to find it but was unable to) where I believe the man admonished himself for being careless with the way he prepared a cup of water for his son, which might indicate a contamination aspect to the environment. Nuclear War
  • Nuclear War  I think a nuclear bomb caused the devastation of the land. In many parts of the story the man and his son claim to see ashes everywhere. On page 5, the man says, “The city was mostly burned. No sign of life…everything covered with ash and dust.”
  • The land could have been subjected to a surge of nuclear radiation overdose, either by a nuclear bomb or an accident [. . .] It must have been enough to have other countries isolate the land and leave it to rot away. There are few signs of life in the natural world. “Will the dam be there for a long time?/ I think so. It’s made out of concrete. It will probably be there for hundred of years. Thousands, even./ Do you think there could be fish in the lake?/ No. There’s nothing in the lake.” (20) We can see from the cannibalistic behavior of the ‘bad guys’ that it is futile to revive the land. Even when the man found seeds, he questioned “For what?” (133). […] Cows are extinct, humans eat one another to survive, and the man’s health is failing. Coughing up blood is never a good sign, […] but if I were to follow nuclear theory, I would say that his body is affected by the radiation. I mean, there should be a reason as to why the ‘bad guys’ are wearing gas masks. nuclear-related cataclysm
  •  In terms of the zombie apocalypse theory, which has the least amount of evidence, after the man’s wife asks him what they are doing after the devastation and he answers that they are survivors, she responds by telling him that “we’re not survivors. We’re the walking dead in a horror film” (41). Granted, this isn’t necessarily an admission of a zombie apocalypse, and if there was one, it is odd that there has yet to be an encounter with a single zombie, but the way she responds to him definitely had me curious. A zombie apocalypse.
  •  There are many instances where the man refers to God, the most significant of which to me being when they are almost caught by the cannibals in the house and his first instinct in the face of potential death is to “curse God and die” (96). Why curse God? If there was a nuclear war, why not curse mankind for dropping the bombs? Throughout the first half of the novel virtually all of the danger the man and his son encounter is from other people, so why not curse them? Curse human nature? Why God? This is what made me think of a biblical rapture taking place. If there had been one, and the man and his family were not taken away, then his curses toward God would be more than just. He would be cursing God for leaving him in the wasteland that once was the world we now live in. He would curse God for his son being born after the devastation, never knowing that previous world [. . .] All of the people they do encounter are “bad guys,” another indicator that God may have taken most of the good people. A Biblical Rapture
  • Themes and Tensions
  • Themes Tensions  Destruction  Survival  Isolation  Death  Man against nature  Good guys vs. bad guys  Right and Wrong
  • The Postmodern Condition
  • Postmodern Aspects  Sparse, dense language  Fragmentation and fractured punctuation  The loss of a beginning.  The upending of the modern “reality.”  Clear assertion that progress is not the path to utopia.  Loss of meaning: A future that will not be able to make sense of the past.
  • End of Days Class 41: The Road: Concepts; Symbols Class 42: The Road: Postmodernism; Critical Theory; The American Dream; Introduce Essay #2 Class 43: The quarter in review; Self-Assessment; Discuss Exam #3 Class 44: Optional Class: Make- up Exam #1 or #2 Class 45: Final: Thursday, June 27th, 9:15 to 11:15 am
  • HOMEWORK  Read The Road: to the three/quarter point: page 72 in the online version. Stop here: “One vast salt sepulcher. Senseless. Senseless.”  Post # 39: Discuss one:  Examine the concept of trust and mistrust in the The Road.  Analyze the symbol of innocence and how it pertains to the son in The Road.  Introduce another concept or symbol  QHQ  Start thinking about your next essay. Some possible prompts are posted. Remember, you can pursue any topic you would like as long as it concerns a text or texts from the second half of the quarter.