This essay aims to illustrate the way in which the American writer Cormac McCarthy constructs the role of the children in his novels Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West and The Road to challenge the discursive reality elaborated by the two adult protagonists. The premise of this endeavor is that both Judge Holden and the man offer a logocentric vision of the world, which the young characters resist by questioning its validity and exposing its limits. The Post-Structuralist criticism of Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Nietzsche represents the theoretical foundation of the text analysis proposed below.
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In , Patrick Sumner, a young medical doctor recently dismissedfrom the British Army with his reputation and professional prospects in ruins, accepts a poorly paid position as a surgeon on a whaling ship in his attempt to flee from his past and his troubled conscience. However, contrary to his expectations, in the Arctic Circle he faces an ordeal far more demanding than anything he has hitherto endured in the form of the harpooner Henry Drax, a dangerous psychopath who is ready to abuse and murder anyone who is an obstacle to the satisfaction of his brutish physical needs. Confronted with violence and cruelty beyond understanding, within the fluid framework of the distorted ethical norms and values of the heterogeneous crew, the embittered Sumner is gradually forced to abandon his protective shell of resigned indifference and reassess the moral stances and responsibilities of a civilized person when faced with human wickedness. Though McGuire acknowledges primarily the inspiration of Herman Melville and Cormac McCarthy, this paper argues that in ethical terms the novel responds to Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, pushing the protagonist’s relationship to the other to an extreme by making the other an embodiment of pure evil.
Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road confronts readers with a question: what is there to live towards after apocalypse? McCarthy locates his protagonists in the aftermath of the world’s fiery destruction, dramatizing a relationship between a father and a son, who are, as McCarthy puts it, “carrying the fire.” This essay asserts that the body carrying the fire is a sacred, incandescent body that connects to and with the world and the other, unifying the human and the divine. This essay will consider the body as a sacred connection in The Road. Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics and Julia Kristeva’s psychoanalytic approach will help to explore what is sacred. In addition, their works elucidate the body as a present site of human connection and sacredness while calling attention to what is glaringly absent yet hauntingly present in McCarthy’s text: the mother. In the aftermath of destruction, primitive, sacred connections become available through the sensual body, highlighting what is at stake in the novel: the connection of body and spirit. The essay will attempt to show that McCarthy’s rejection of a redemptive framework, or hope in an otherworldly reality, shrouds spirit in physicality symbolized by the fire carried by the body. This spirit offers another kind of hope, one based on the body’s potential to feel and connect to the other. The thought and works of Ricoeur and Kristeva will broaden a reading of McCarthy’s novel, especially as a statement about the unification of body and spirit, contributing a multidimensional view of a contemporary problem regarding what sustains life after a cataclysmic event.
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Ambroży analyzes two post-
apocalyptic novels, David Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress and CormacMcCarthy’s The Road, focusing on the relationship between language and
the dehumanized post-apocalyptic reality, as well as on the ability of lan-
guage to resist the apocalypse. Krzysztof Majer discusses the Coen broth-
ers’ film A Serious Man in the light of its dedication entirely to Jewish
issues in the United States, a Jewish community in the Midwest and the
character of schlemiel, the eternal loser, who in the film becomes a post-
modern figure confronting the
reminded of the deep wounds created by deception
and corruption in religious institutions.
In “Reading The Road with Paul Ricoeur and Julia Kristeva: The Hu-
man Body as a Sacred Connection,” Stephanie Arel eagerly engages both
Ricoeur and Kristeva in reading the fiction of CormacMcCarthy: her text
is McCarthy’s novel, The Road, which Arel re-visions in imagining how
body and spirit might sustain life after the world’s “fiery destruction.” The
Road appears to tell a story about a father and a son who are “carrying the
fire,” uniting human and divine. But Arel