​Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a novel that takes place in a hypothetical post-apocalyptic world that is never quite explained.

​Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a novel that takes place in a hypothetical post-apocalyptic world that is never quite explained.

Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a novel that takes place in a hypothetical post-apocalyptic world that is never quite explained. The story is centered on a boy and a man he calls, Papa and is primarily based on their journey both along and on the road.

Essay Prompt:

Perform a literary analysis of McCarthy’s The Road and then write a thesis-driven analysis that focuses on one theme existing in the novel. Your purpose is to answer the question: to what extent does McCarthy employ literary devices (e.g., syntax, symbolism, allusion, structure, descriptive language, motif, and tone) to produce a specific effect and connect to the theme of the novel?

A passing essay will have an effective introduction with clear thesis and topics, cohesive body paragraphs each with supporting evidence from the novel and outside sources and identifies the various literary devices in the novel, and a developed conclusion.

Essay Thresholds (Requirements):

  • Minimum 8 – 10 pages.
  • Must use textual evidence from the novel.
  • Must cite an additional FOUR scholarly or credible sources.
  • Must be in MLA format and have a Works Cited. Any essay not in MLA format will not earn higher than a C. Note: DO NOT USE EASY BIB
  • Upload to Canvas on Friday, 12/6/19 no later than 11:59 PM
  • No late assignments, Google Docs, or emailed submissions accepted. No exceptions.


  • SMC Library Website: Databases JSTOR, MLA, Oxford, Gale, EBSCO (available from our home page)
  • “Elements of Fiction,” “Choosing Topics,” and “Writing About Literature” in our Canvas readings which will be posted in our Course Readings.
  • (Optional) Rough Draft: If you would like another pair of eyes to look at your essay prior to final submission, upload to Canvas no later than Sunday, 12/1/19 by 11:59 PM. I will provide feedback by Monday the 2nd 11:59 PM to allow you time for revision.
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