The Road Critical Essay

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Wearing masks and goggles, sitting in their rags by the side of the road like ruined aviators. For instance, while it might superficially make sense to identify the novel’s description of so many of its characters along the lines of Giorgio Agamben’s conception of there obviously is no sovereign power anymore.

Instead, all there exists, on the one hand, are seemingly unprotected fugitives and, on the other, what Julian Murphet has dubbed “those prototypical visions of Freudian ‘primal hordes’ shambling along the roads like the very incarnation of the death drive” (122).

Firstly, it will highlight the way in which the novel engages with the theme of mobility and utilizes the classic road motif, which has a long and distinct history in American literary discourse.

Secondly, it will discuss the peculiar temporality (and seeming “worldlessness”) of the novel’s post-apoc­alyptic setting, which is expressed, among other things, in the inability to think and imagine a genuine future.

is read here as an example of what, in allusion to Lionel Trilling, might be referred to as the “neoliberal imagination.”1 This does not mean, however, that I understand Mc Carthy as a neoliberal writer, nor that I understand primarily as a neoliberal novel.

Indeed, throughout my essay the term “neoliberalism” is not so much used as a well-defined political ideology, but rather designates what a number of economic theorists and political scientists have termed a .2 In the United States, this mode of regulation started to take hold in the late 1970s, becoming ever more dominant under the Reagan presidency in the early 1980s.3 And although the neoliberal model is currently undergoing a severe crisis, it is nevertheless safe to say that it continues to exist today.4 My argument, then, is not that Along these lines, the essay will focus on two aspects in particular.(2006), a father and his son “push down the road a battered shopping cart, containing their bare provisions, on a thoroughly consumed earth” (Seltzer 189).Despite the fact that the novel seems to be situated in an indistinct no-man’s-land, marked by a curious absence of time and history, this essay argues that it is indeed worthwhile to historicize .that creates the precarious status of refugees on the move; it is rather the earth itself, which seems to be in a state of complete decay, having lost most of its resources and potentials.As there is hardly any fertile vegetation left, the only way to survive is either to become a cannibal, or, like the man and his son, live mostly of canned goods, the rare remains of the pre-catastrophic era.In this regard, one can see a number of parallels between (2003) (both of which have been turned into movies by David Cronenberg).For, in a sense, all of these works, in their very different methods, can be read as revisionary reflections on the status of mobility in the context of modern-day capitalism.After all, not only the man and his son explicitly identify as “refugees” (Mc Carthy 82), but, in a sense, every character in the book is a refugee. Creedless shells of men tottering down the causeways like migrants in a feverland” (28).“In those first years,” Mc Carthy writes, “the roads were peopled with refugees shrouded up in their clothing. Yet, a number of aspects of the novel seem to seriously contradict the possible analogies to the plight of refugees fleeing war, poverty, or political oppression.In this regard, the context of Mc Carthy’s apocalyptic scenario appears to be ontological or geo-philosophical rather than immediately political.10 Consequently, the reader finds out hardly anything about the catastrophic event that occurred in the past, being left with almost nothing but the brutal reality of “Mc Carthy’s blighted landscape,” which “offers only death” (Steven 69).Insofar as the novel’s setting is a post-political territory, then, in which the divisions are not anymore those between the included and the excluded, the sovereign power and bare life, or citizens and refugees, but rather those between (equally animalized) cannibals and their prey, the analogy to the contemporary refugee question has its limits.


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