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What Makes for a Meaningful Life: a Look Down the Road

  • Date Submitted: 01/03/2016 08:24 PM
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Preston B. Wilkes
Mr. Howell - 5th
IB English HL I
9th November, 2014
What Makes For a Meaningful Life: A Look Down The Road
Under what circumstances is suicide justified? One of the lasting images in The Road is the death of the mother by her own hand. At the beginning of the book, her reasons seem justified, due to the terrible state of the world in which they lived.   There are a many stories (like the time when the man and the boy were at the fountain) throughout the book, that seem to point to the fact that life is meaningless.The boy and the man really should just kill themselves because, what are they really living for? In response, the reason for living as it is given in The Road is, that love and spending time with those who you love as well as those who you love, is what makes life meaningful. The point the author makes about love is illustrated exceptionally well early in the novel, when the man and his uncle spend the day together. Even in scenes where it all just seems so aimless, like the task of collecting a single log of firewood or learning how to swim in a small cavernous pool. The fact that makes it worthwhile, is the bond that the man and the boy are foraging together (notice the mother was not mentioned, more on that later in the essay).
Even though the author may firmly believe in love as the central theme of life in The Road, the mother states a strong counterpoint, going as far as to support suicide. Once the reality of their situation set in, the mother laid down some utilitarian philosophy on page 56, “I’d take him with me if it weren't for you… It’s the right thing to do”, with this dictum she upholds the virtues of suicide and, even encourages the boy and man to join her. Her statement is not without   just reason as, we know that they have thus far seen the raping, killing, and cannibalism of others on the road (56). This makes up the foundation of her reasoning. The fact that the only possible outcome is of a grueling death therefore,...


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