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McCarthy On the Written Word

The written word, so vitally important to so many of us in the civilized world, might well prove to be mere folly in a brutally elemental, post-civilization wasteland. At least that's what I believe Cormac McCarthy is saying, in this brief passage from The Road:

Years later he'd stood in the charred ruins of a library where blackened books lay in pools of water. Shelves tipped over. Some rage at the lies arranged in their thousands row on row. He picked up one of the books and thumbed through the heavy bloated pages. He'd not have thought the value of the smallest thing predicated on a world to come. It surprised him. That the space which these things occupied was itself an expectation. He let the book fall and took a last look around and made his way out into the cold gray light.

June 13, 2007 in Books | Permalink


I felt that he was trying to say with this passage that the books were filled with the past -- lies of a beautiful world which no longer existed. Perhaps the people destroying the books were angered that this record remained to taunt them. This seems to be a theme with the main character and boy. The father tells these stories that the boy -- who hasn't even seen the sun -- can never comprehend.

Posted by: Julie at Jun 13, 2007 10:10:07 AM