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The Art of Carrying the Fire: Carrying the Fire: Motivation for Survival in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
2017 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Konsten att bära vidare elden : Att bära vidare elden: Motivation för överlevnad i Cormac McCarthys The Road (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This essay is working on exploring what it is that motivates the man and the boy to survive despite the harsh reality they live in. The purpose of the essay is to show four main factors for motivation: morality, religion, society and paternal love. The first factor is the fundamental inner voice of morality which tells them why they should do something. In order to be able to productively discuss the topic of moral motivation I will introduce W.D. Ross's theory of Pluralistic Deontology as a means to find a framework in which to discuss this aspect of the novel. The second factor discussed is religion, which somewhat functions in the same way as morality does but seems to be more of a driving force, primarily for the man. The third factor is society in the sense of how it motivates one to take certain actions. I will use Thomas Hobbes’s idea of the state of nature, but also make it clear how, specifically, a postapocalyptic scenario affects the protagonists. The fourth factor and also the overarching factor discussed is paternal love. This factor is inter-located throughout the whole essay. Probably the most significant phrase from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is “carrying the fire” (79). It is a central focal point in the man and the boy's overall interaction. The importance of the phrase cannot be stressed enough and does, without a doubt, carry a significant meaning for them both. However, we never really get an explanation to what the phrase really means, which inevitably invites the readers to draw their own conclusions as to what the phrase conveys. It remains ambiguous throughout the novel but in terms of motivation it has to do with surviving and/or the upholding of values remembered from the pre-apocalyptic society. As I address the phrase this meaning it also becomes possible to see that there are motivating factors for both the man and the boy that affect their morale to keep the fire going. This essay will investigate three possible motivating factors found in the novel, and, in addition to this, an overarching factor that can, arguably, function as connection between the other three factors.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 18
Keywords [en]
McCarthy, The Road, Morality, Carrying the fire, Factors for motivation, Survival mentality, Religion, Society, Post-Apocalyptic, Paternal love.
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Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-62877OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-62877DiVA, id: diva2:1137858
Subject / course
English
Educational program
Secondary Education Programme: Upper-Secondary School: English (300 ECTS credits)
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Available from: 2017-09-11 Created: 2017-09-01 Last updated: 2017-09-11Bibliographically approved

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