The Heros Journey In The Hobbit And Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

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The concept of “The Hero’s Journey” plays a major role in nearly every piece of fiction humanity has created since its inception, from epic poems to blockbuster movies. In many ways, works of fiction and some pieces of nonfiction could not exist and would not make sense without the concept of a Hero’s Journey; it allows the reader to comprehend and follow the progression of characters over the course of the story. While Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road may not display most of the archetypal qualities found in classic Hero’s Journeys such as J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit or Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, it most clearly exemplifies the qualities of a Hero’s Journey through the Boy’s character in relation to the mentor, tests and enemies, and the…show more content…
The duo’s entire journey is, in fact, a seemingly endless series of obstacles which the Man and Boy must face. These obstacles range from cannibals slowly trekking down the road to Mother Nature itself. For example, the Man and Boy barely escape cannibalistic gangs both when a gang unexpectedly appears on the road and when the Man discovers the basement of one such gang packed with naked men and women. In addition, even after securing a source of food, such as when they find the bunker, the Man and Boy always face the potential of starvation and the freezing cold weather because the Man knows they cannot carry all the food they find and that they cannot stay in one location for an extended period of time. Moreover, on two occasions, once when the cannibalistic gang find their cart and once when the thief on the beach steals the cart, do the Man and Boy lose nearly everything they have (though, they eventually catch the beach thief and, to the Boy’s disappointment and sadness, the Man forces him to give them everything he has). However, not all of the tests and enemies faced by the Man and Boy are physical obstacles; in several cases, these obstacles are their own minds. For example, the Boy sometimes expresses a desire to be with his mother in…show more content…
Since The Road is more about the Boy’s journey than his father’s, the supreme ordeal at the end of the novel is the death of the Man. The death of the Man, who acted as the Boy’s mentor during the many challenges faced by the duo, represents the largest and most devastating challenge faced by the Boy. Not only is this due to the fact that the Boy feels unprepared to continue on without his father, but it is also because the “reward” and “road back” are not immediately apparent to the Boy. Compared to even the most challenging obstacles the Boy faced in the past, the death of his father leaves him both physically and mentally pained and exhausted. However, relief from his situation arrives promptly in the form of the stranger who claims to be a “good guy,” though the Boy’s future remains forever uncertain.

Therefore, the Boy’s “Hero’s Journey” in The Road, while certainly not a traditional Hero’s Journey, does contain several key elements of the journey, such as a mentor, tests, and a supreme ordeal. However, the atypical journey of the Boy, particularly the lack of a clear denouement, allows the Hero’s Journey of the Boy to become open to the interpretation of the reader, and therefore allow the reader to transpose their own experiences and journey to the Boy as he struggles to keep the fire

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