The Road – post scriptum

We have now read the Road. I have almost read all the reading journals and I have some questions I want to bring up but also some thoughts on your writing.

Questions on The Road

  • Why do you think Cormac has chosen not to give his characters names? How do the generic labels of ”the man” and ”the boy” affect the way in which readers relate to them?
  • As the father is dying, he tells his son he must go on in order to ”carry the fire.” When the boy asks if the fire is real, the father says, ”It’s inside you. It was always there. I can see it”. What is this fire? Why is it so crucial that they not let it die?
  • What do you think the coast represents (physically and literally)? Why?
  • Do the characters in the novel find any meaning in their lives?


Method of reading

How do you work with a book? Describe your method.


Based on your reading journals I noticed a few things you ought to think about.


  • Check all instances of I. They should be with capital I and nothing else.
  • Check all national words. They should have capital letters: English, Englishman.
  • Check all instances of a and an. A before consonant sound, an before vowel sound. (A European agreement, an honest proposal).
  • Check all verbs in the text.
    • Present tense: He/she/it speaks
    • Agreement: John jumps, Ted and Bill jump; John was late. Bill and Ted were late; John has diabetes. Wolves and dogs have fur; Samuel is sick. John and Bill are funny.
  • Check all Where and were. Where is used for placement: Where is the car? The city where I grew up. Were is used as a verb. We were late for class.
  • Genitive. When somebody owns something an apostrophe and an s is added to indicate ownership, as in: This is Daniel’s car. It is John’s wife.

NOTICE 1: Charles’ car.

NOTICE 2: It is = It’s. It’s a plane, not superman: The car is blue, but it has lost one of its wheels.

  • Then and than. Then is used in all comparisons when they deal with time. Than is used in all other cases. I first came to Newark and then I went to New York. I am taller than you.
  • Who’s and whose. Who’s the new teacher? That’s the guy whose bike I stole.
  • Who or Whom. Who wrote the letter? He wrote the letter. Therefore, who is correct.

For whom should I vote? Should I vote for him? Therefore, whom is correct.

  • Which and Who and That. Which is used when dealing with things. Who is used when dealing with people. That is as which but is only used in restrictive clauses.
  • Gems that sparkle make me happy. Diamonds, which are expensive, often make girls happy. This is John who I met last week in Paris. John is on the team that won first place. The editorial claiming racial differences in intelligence, which appeared in the Sunday newspaper, upset me.

NOTICE: These are the dogs whose owner we are looking for.

  • If you want to use abbreviated forms (e.g. don’t) stick to that principle and do not mix don’t and doesn’t with was not and were not. Please notice that the full form is recommended for formal writing.

Grammar mind map

Generate your own mind map as a way to remember the grammar rules we looked at today. Publish link as a comment below.

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