The Religious Road: Religious Ambiguity in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
Cormac McCarthy's The Road carries a complex juxtaposition between the presence and absence of God. In some scenes we are reminded that God is always looking after us, while other portions of the novel offer skepticism regarding religion, particularly Christianity. Perhaps the apocalyptic state in which we find the man and his son is the work of God as in the Book of Revelations. Then there are those subtle hints that juxtapose this claim. This run down Earth may be the work of man and man only. McCarthy is careful to balance his work leaving an unbiased representation of the end of the world.
In his critical essay “What's at the End of the Road?” Allen Josephs details how parts of the novel both attract and repel the idea that God is still in good faith in the characters hearts. I agree with Josephs, seeing the obvious and sometimes oblivious connections to faith and hope. In the novel, the man expresses his thoughts of reflection. This only adds to the ominous feeling of higher power.
Allen Josephs' claims that the uncertainty of God in The Road is expressed by the unknown apocalypse events. The cause of the apocalypse is not revealed, but rather hinted at. The problem, is that these hints are vague and could point towards man-made or higher power destruction. Allen states, “Most readers tend to think that the unspecified catastrophe in the novel is man-made, but if so, why does McCarthy deliberately fail to say so, either in the novel or in subsequent interviews? What if it's God-made or a catastrophic accident?”
(Josephs 4). Allen's claim that McCarthy has given nothing away leaves the story open to a reader’s imagination.
I agree with Josephs that the position of higher power in The Road is mysterious and unclear. It is easy to see this during the old man scene. As our weary travelers move down the everlasting road, they meet an old man; Ely....