“My Job Is to Take Care of You”: Climate Change, Humanity, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
Abstract

Abstract:

Though it never names its ecological catastrophe, The Road is increasingly read as a climate-change novel. This essay explores how this narrative of father and son walking a dead landscape speaks to contemporary environmental concerns. Adapting apocalyptic techniques, it contrasts a lost humanity (that is, being both human and humane) against present inhumanity, locating the measure of humanity in the father’s care for his son. Thus, the novel resonates with contemporary anxieties about caring for the future, anxieties often expressed in the figure of the child. The novel’s conclusion, however, affords the opportunity of rising above such anxieties.