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Cannibal ante Portas

The Significance of Food and Cannibalism in Cormac McCarthy´s "The Road"

by Urs Endhardt


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Essay from the year 2010 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0, University of Flensburg (Englisches Institut), course: Projektarbeit Anglistik, language: English, abstract: The Road is set in an apocalyptic scenario in which most of humankind and the environ-ment seems to have been destroyed by an unspecified catastrophe. Still the few survivors, including the two main characters, have to eat something in order to stay alive. They nourish themselves from whatever edible they find on their way as they travel along a road in the hope of finding a warmer and more liveable place in the ruined country. But as the story develops they learn that not all survivors of the disaster are willing to live from the mostly insipid leftovers of the destroyed civilization but have instead developed an unholy desire for fresh human meat. In this project work I would like to deal with the role of food in McCarthy's novel and furthermore examine the parts that display cannibalism. Therefore I divide my project into two main parts of analysis. Firstly I´m going to highlight how and for which reasons McCarthy uses the topic of normal food in his novel. Which stylistic devices does the author use to emphasize the role of food and how does McCarthy integrate the topic into the novel? And what role plays the absence of food? Secondly I would like to focus on the cannibals. How are they described, what role do they play in the book and how is their appearance used by McCarthy to evoke fear and tension throughout the novel? In addition to that I´m trying to find out whether the author may have had any examples in mind when he conceived those bestialized creatures. Has he been influenced by other writers, real cannibalistic occurrences in extreme situations or within history? Where did his get his preference for violent topics from?

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GRIN Verlag
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Cannibal ante Portas
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