The nameless father of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is repeatedly faced with the difficulty of having to account for a world left desolate after a global catastrophe. The father remains committed to such a world even though it is rife with cannibalism and violence. Yet how can he account for this existence to his son? Why pass on such a way of life? I enlist the ordinary language philosophy of Wittgenstein and Cavell in an effort to account for the father’s commitment. I employ the categories of tragedy, courage, and Cavell’s notion of acknowledgment to understand the novel’s unsettling vision.