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Lessons from Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 24, 2021
Lessons from Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD

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This week I took a break for my hands-on effort to get myself ready for anything and everything that may happen in this world.  With nine weeks of plans and projects behind me, I simply had too many preparedness projects that were started but not quite complete.  Time to get cracking, S.W.

For those of you joining me on this one-week-at-a-time missive, I want to remind you that we are all very human.  So don’t be hard on yourself if you started something but did not quite finish.  After all, one of the reasons I write this blog is to share and commiserate our profound humanness.

Anyway, getting back on track, last night I cheated.  Instead of reading Cormac McCarthy’s book, The Road, I watched the movie.  I wrote about the book a couple of weeks ago when it was recommended to me.  But time was of the essence; I simply wanted to learn the message of The Road now.  So I cheated and watched the movie instead.

Well, let me tell you something.  This movie is dark.  This movie is depressing. And it is a must see on many levels.  So what is The Road about?

From the ash-covered, post-apocalyptic remains of Appalachia, a Father and Son take to the road in search of a better life. Hope is waning, the Father’s health is failing, and the journey is impeded by nomadic bands of cannibals. The movie is an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, set in a fictional near future in which the world has been virtually destroyed although we are not quite sure what caused the destruction (my words).

I don’t want to be a spoiler so I leave it to you to see the film yourself.  I will, however, share the lessons I learned that will keep me moving forward on my preparedness mission not only for the coming weeks but for the rest of my life.

Lessons from The Road:

1.  Something, anything, may happen to our planet in the future.  It may be predictable, or it may be unexpected.  And it may be beyond the limits of our imagination.

2.  People will go to great lengths to survive, including savagery, terrorism, and possibly cannibalism.

3.  The power of love can feed the soul and keep you going under the worst of circumstances.

4.  Random acts of kindness may not be rewarded but are good deeds anyway.

5.  Putting away food and water is not enough.  Warm clothing, shoes, and blankets come next, perhaps before shelter.

6.  Access to tools and weapons and the knowledge to use them are critical to long-term survival.

7.  Hope is elusive but barring sickness, will allow you to keep moving forward in the worst of circumstances.

8.  Preparing for the end of the world as we know it is a best-guess best-effort task.  No matter what we do, it will never be enough.

These are the lessons I have learned so far.  And yes, I am going to read the book.  There is simply so much to learn.

Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!

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8 Responses to “Lessons from Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD”

  1. I watched the movie first and then read the book. The starkness and barren country they traveled through was so hopeless, but they were not hopeless. The disaster had occurred many years before so any preps that may have been made were used up by then, unless you stumbled across an old bunker! I will never forget the story or the lessons from it. Highly recommend to anyone who wants to think about what is possible in our future.

  2. You can download the movie for free here: //

    It has English subtitles, but it’s a small price to pay for watching it free.

    • Ammo, just like food, eventually runs out. In The Walking Dead, Darrel makes new bolts for his crossbow. In Lost, the Korean woman plants a garden. In Dual Survival, they eat bugs. In The Colony, Los Angeles, they make homemade bombs and flame throwers. BTW, I don’t have a life, I just watch TV!

  3. I agree the movie was dark…but the final lesson I took from it was that life and hope spring eternal…in the last part of the movie the father and son came upon some kind of flying insect..indicating that life would start over and go matter how dark the night gets or seems. The scene with the family was uplifing also….

    • I second what Joanne wrote. I saw the movie first, and read the book to see if there were any additional prepping/survival details. It turns out the book is such a beautifully written piece of literature (not just a novel) that it was much less depressing than the movie, although the story is the same. The survival detail I got is holding a can of food over the fire with pliers or a multi-tool to heat it up. And like Gaye wrote, warm clothes, coat, boots and blanket/tarp come before tent/sleeping bag.

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