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God and Morality in The Road

            God, Morality, and Meaning in Cormac McCarthy's The Road Erik J.
             Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road is, among other things, a meditation on morality, what makes human life meaningful, and the relationship between these things and God. While the novel is rife with religious imagery and.
             ideas, it suggests a conception of morality and meaning that is secular in nature. In this paper I show that while the existence of God remains ambiguous throughout the novel, The Road contains both a clear moral code and a view about what makes life meaningful. I describe this moral code and examine its connection with meaning in life. Along the way, I discuss the struggle of the man and child to live up to the moral code. I then make the case that the views of morality and meaning found in The Road imply that morality does not depend upon God for its existence or justification. Through this discussion, I hope to deepen our understanding both of morality and of The Road.
             God's Ambiguity and the Man's Mission.
             The first words spoken aloud by the man in The Road are: "If he is not the word of God God never spoke " (McCarthy 5). This statement introduces a fundamental ambiguity that runs throughout the novel. The man does not declare his son to be the word of God; instead, his utterance is hypothetical in nature. He declares that his son is the word of God or God never spoke. The book of Genesis depicts God as creating through speech (Genesis 1:1-31); a God that does not speak is a God that does not create. Thus, the man's declaration is that either his son is the word of God, or, for all practical purposes, the universe is a godless one.
             Many events in the novel can be interpreted in accordance with both possibilities. Consider, for example, the pattern of near demise followed by unlikely rescue that repeats itself throughout the story. The father and son are on the point of starvation when they discover an underground bunker filled with food (McCarthy 138).

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