Friday, February 20, 2009

Quick thoughts on the ending of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”

I loved the ending -- “She would talk to him sometimes about God.” The family “carrying the fire” reminds me of Thomas Cahill’s book How the Irish Saved Civilization. Even through the darkest of ages and the chaos associated with collapsing civilization one of the greatest tasks that the remnant must perform is the preservation of humanity. I would argue this is done by preserving not only civility amid anarchy, but the preservation of the arts, the skills of writing well, the definitions of words and ideas such as liberty and tyranny, and the morality and doctrinal integrity of the church. The Road also reminds me of the movie The Children of Men. Humanity must be preserved. The torch must be carried. I’m reminded that there is hope even if we ourselves don’t see the sunshine. No matter the circumstances we have our duty. There’s a story that Alexander Stevens wrote in Book II, Chapter 3 of History of the United States: Among the chaos of the War for Independence, with the pastors and prophets declaring Armageddon -- with the armies of the Anti-Christ (the redcoats) burning down homes and churches, murdering wives and children, on the 19th of May 1780 “the heavens became darkened by a dense vapor . . . . It was the opinion of some that the Day of Judgment was at hand.” A motion was made in the Connecticut Legislature that they adjourn. A Colonel Davenport opposed the measure declaring that: “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for an adjournment; if it is, I desire to be found doing my duty.” The following night, of course, the “extraordinary phenomenon” passed and the next day was beautiful. Stevens writes: “Hope again revived in the breasts of the desponding.” The Revolution continued and we won our independence.
(I'd like to expand on these thoughts later.)

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