(WARNING: Not only spoilers–as all my postings on lit may be, though my readings of past classics are not as threatening to the general populace as a recently published book such as this might be, but then again, who hasn’t read this book already?–but some rather blunt remarks about McCarthy’s inclusion of rather upsetting images for which those of us who love McCarthy have sworn acceptance.)
Nobody does dead babies like McCarthy. If that seems a rough statement, just watch the news at night. Not just Iraq or whatever current war with its visuals, but the boyfriend who didn’t think his girlfriend’s baby was just too cute to ever…well, you know.
What bothers me the most–and the whole scenario is meant to disturb–is that McCarthy let the boy walk right into it and the man and I let it happen!
The boy forgets to bring the gun and they must go back for it; the father tells him it’s not his fault, he should have been watching. The boy doesn’t shut off the gas valve on the stove and they run out of fuel; the father again accepts the blame and assures the boy it wasn’t his responsibility. As the boy takes on more and more, sees worse and worse horror, we forget how fragile he really is.
We were supposed to be watching over him and I, for one, feel I’ve let him down horribly. Lulled into the sense of seeing death and obvious signs of cannibalism, remembering that dog barking in the beginning pages, we let the kid–as does McCarthy because he sees the purpose to it–walk right up to that campfire.
As I see the real possibility of this world, I see as well how I might act in it. That’s immersion. That’s fear.