Morality In Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

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Morality coincides with choosing right from wrong. However, right and wrong is not so clear cut when your life is on the line. Similarly, in the post-apocalyptic setting of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, a man and his young son must decide to put forth morals or choose the route that benefits themselves the most. The latter is prevalent throughout the novel, as the man guides his son to survive and make decisions based on his best interests. The characters in the story The Road to put survival over morals, which is attributed to our basic instincts trumping morals in instances where our wellbeing is in danger.
It is our instinct to protect ourselves before we do anything. This notion is put to test in the article “Fight, Flight, or Freeze? The
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In the experiment, “overall, the authors found that females were more likely to dart in response to a CS during the acquisition phase of learning than males” (Jones and Monfils 51-52). The article makes a point, that the female mice were more likely to dart which “resembles an attempt to escape” (Jones and Monfils 51), similar to the instinct of a flighting response. The male mice however, were more likely to freeze which is “quantified as an experimental endpoint, with low levels of freezing indicative of low fear” (Jones and Monfils 51). The low fear levels indicate the fighting response because, instead of fleeing the scene in fear, they decided to stop and face the potential danger ahead of them. This resembles the male characters in the novel The Road, which portrays two males fighting situations that put their lives in danger. For example, the man and the boy fight through their fears when they are scavenging for food in a “grand house” (McCarthy 33). The man is aware that they may face someone and may have to fight in order to survive, however “[they’ve got to find something to eat. [they] have no choice” (McCarthy 33), thus they continue to to go through the house, even though they may get killed. In order to survive, they have put aside their morals to go through a random house. Along with this they are willing to fight and face potential danger and put their life as risk. This point helps prove that the…show more content…
This experiment consisted of 24 male college students, selected out of a volunteer pool, who were chosen to partake in a mock prison. The subjects were assigned as being prisoners or guards, and were told to simulate a prison setting (“A Pirandellian prison” 1-13). Although the experiment proved to be unsuccessful, it teaches us a lot about human nature, and what we are capable of doing. Philip Zimbardo’s experiment shows that everyone conforms to their surroundings, and adapt to situations. The “prisoners” in the experiment were forced to adapt and started behaving as though they were actually prisoners. Likewise, the guards started to abuse their powers and treated the prisoners as though they were actual misfits, and as if it was their responsibility to keep them in line. However, the article explains that: “The subjects' abnormal social and personal reactions are best seen as a product of their transaction with an environment that supported the behavior that would be pathological in other settings but was 'appropriate' in this prison” (“A Pirandellian prison” 12). The subjects are only reacting to their environment, and like the rats the in the fight or flight experiment, they are instinctively reacting to their environment and adapting. Similarly, the man and his son in The Road, must adjust with their environment. For example, they must learn to hide from the bad
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