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Fulcrums and borderlands : A desert reading of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road

Graulund, Rune (2010) Fulcrums and borderlands : A desert reading of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Orbis Litterarum, 65 (1). pp. 57-78.

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Abstract

The article presents a reading of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) in terms of the desert. The desert has been a landscape of central importance for McCarthy since Blood Meridian (1985), but it is of unprecedented importance in The Road. Physically, emotionally as morally, every choice the protagonists of The Road face as they trek across the bleak and abstract wasteland of a future America can in some way or other lead back to the ultimate question of deserta, of absence. The problem of the desert, in other words, is the barren ground upon which the central questions of the novel rest. The article concludes with the suggestion that The Road may present a new phase in McCarthy’s authorship, a shift heralded not just by McCarthy’s plunge into a new genre but possibly his entire philosophy.