Essay On Cormac Mccarthy The Road Fire

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The discovery of fire revolutionized human history. It allowed for vision in the night, a method to cook foods, and a way for protection for the human ancestors. Its became indispensable for the development of human societies, and continues to be of great importance today. It continued to hold its importance in writings and visual works, becoming a universal symbol for various meanings such as power and wrath. In Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, fire is a prominent and reoccurring symbol for life, death, and passion.

The importance of life is emphasized with the use of fire throughout the novel. Existing in a bleak, death ridden environment, color comes in scarcity. The brilliant red-orange and yellow flames of a fire contrasts against its surroundings
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Flames wane and flicker, similar to the lives of the survivors. The ability to live on exists in carrying the fire. In contrast, the flames of a fire is a delicate art, something that may bring destruction if not carefully handled.

Just as it brings warmth and life, fire brings death as well. Fire brings warmth to those who stay close to its flames, but will burn those who touch it. As the boy and the man journey down the road they come across the remnants of fire’s wrath. They live “through the drifting ash” (pg 191), the remains of what once was scattered across the world. The boy and man travel through the remnants of life that was burnt by fires. Fire has been utilized as a weapon by other survivors as well, charring and cooking their victims. The woman who cooked her newborn baby over a fire killed a new life. The son and father use their fires to heat their cold bodies, while the mother used her fire to kill her baby. Another example of destruction by fire are the spontaneous fires that occur through the land. The man witnessed a “forest fire was making its way… flaring and shimmering against the overcast like the northern lights” (pg 31). Forests, typically lush and ripe with life, were rendered dead by the quick spreading fire. The destruction that the spreading fires caused is seen all throughout the environment. Fire can burn to destroy, but one may burn with a fiery

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