The Road Part 2: The Setting
The Road is full of emptiness and nobody knows where they’re going. So make a note to self, Shmoopers: when the apocalypse hits, grab a GPS.
[ bird caws ]
What can we learn about the first 20 pages?
What can't we learn?
One of the crazy things about The Road is that -
spoiler alert - we never find out
All we learn in the first 20 pages
is the nothingness that is to come from the rest of the book.
It really sets the tone. And The Road
does a good job of showing us how
in a lot of literature, you can,
within the first page, 20 pages,
figure out exactly how the rest of the book is gonna read.
And that's exactly what happens. It's very sparse.
It's very bleak. We get to know
these two characters, and in the first 20 pages,
the man and the boy don't have names.
If they don't have names in the first 20 pages,
they're probably not gonna have names.
So we kind of get to know this world of this
anonymous man and boy who are literally just wandering
down a road.
So it's almost the omission of things is a theme here.
That we don't know what happened. It's almost like saying
it doesn't matter. Something bad is coming.
People don't have names, kind of reminds me of Invisible Man.
One of the main characters didn't have a name.
- That was a big deal. - Yep.
And so this is like everyman, or this is sort of
- a lyrical phrase. - Yeah.
Yeah, in terms of not knowing
what happened, it just almost makes it scarier, because
if we know,
okay, it was a nuclear war,
then in our heads, we can be like,
- "Oh..." - "We'll ban nuclear weapons someday."
Exactly. "We can figure that out.
We fixed the hole in the ozone layer, we can ban nuclear weapons."
But when we don't know what happened, we can't
- prevent it from happening. - Was it ebola?
- Was it a virus, or...? - Right. Exactly.
And we have no idea.
The only things that we get at the beginning of the book
are kind of some flashbacks to
there was a bright light and some sounds.
- But that could be literally anything. - Yeah, we don't really know.
It could be war. It could nuclear --
And the title itself, The Road...
The road ahead, the road's empty.
You don't know where you're going.
- So it's like you're filling in blanks. - Exactly. Exactly. Yep.
[ pen writing ]
What tone is delivered by the introduction?
What do we know about The Road?
Why don't the main characters have names?
How does not knowing the characters' names affect the tone?
[ laughs ] Who wrote this?