Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Delivered at the Popular Culture Association Conference, Spring 2009.


This presentation examines The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006) set in the United States after some undetermined apocalypse where an unnamed man and his son negotiate starvation and the devastated landscape. The novel presents several challenges to the Post Apocalypse genre. It foregrounds character development rather than plot and counterbalances horror with lyricism. The novel also confronts the more typical happy ending of a new family suggested by the religious imagery, instead predicting the inevitable approach of human extinction, but also promising a third, the long-term, rebirth of life (not necessarily human) through the mystery of re-evolution.