The Road Essay

Performance Indicators:

P.S. ELA-1 Language:   Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

A. Notice and correct grammatical and mechanical errors in writing.
B. Demonstrate command of correct sentence structure and variety.
C. Apply standard usage to formal speaking and writing.

P.S ELA-2 Reading Analysis: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

A. Evaluate the relevant themes and synthesize how they are present in the novel in oral and written responses.
B. Interpret the implications of setting and circumstance.
C. Analyze the role of characters in the plot in oral and written responses.
D. Analyze important quotations from the text in oral and written responses.
E. Annotate the text.

P.S ELA-3 Reading Craft and Structure: Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of a text.

 P.S ELA-4 Writing Analysis:   Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

A. Select and limit a debatable thesis.
B. Research evidence using credible sources.
C. Select an appropriate organizational plan.
D. Acknowledge alternate sides of a position.
E. Apply the standards of English conventions.
F. Apply persuasive strategies.
G. Create a Works Cited for evidence used.

P.S ELA-5 Writing Craft:   Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

A. Create an effective introduction.
B. Use showing details v. telling details.
C. Maintain a focus on the main idea throughout the body paragraphs.
D. Write an effective conclusion.


During our recent reading and discussion of THE ROAD, we reviewed passages from the literature and applied these revelations to selected quotes on faith.  Today, as you prepare for the in-class essay you will be required to select one of the quotes on faith or to express your own provocative statement on faith which will serve as the thesis to your essay.

The essay will require you to discuss THE ROAD according to the statement of faith that you select.  This is an opportunity to examine a fundamental pillar of your beliefs in accordance with the plot of THE ROAD in order to express your insight about the essential theme of the novel–faith.

An “A” introduction:

  1. Introduce the author and the title of the novel (underline the title of the novel)
  2. Present a summary of the novel without being too lengthy, as to take away from the purpose of the introduction.
  3. Provide a passage from the novel that serves to emphasize your summary and to connect to your statement about faith—your thesis statement.  Demonstrate how the passage transitions to your thesis.
  4. Express your thesis statement.

Example Thesis:

THE ROAD embodies throughout the novel the German scholar, Friedrich Nietzsche, expressed belief that “A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.

An “A” Body Paragraph Structure:

  1. A.      Topic sentence:   In THE ROAD the ash-ridden earth unmistakably resembles a lunatic asylum where faith is as useless as sunblock.
  2. B.      Expressed Opinion (your opinion may often be expressed within your topic sentence without using “I” language or drawing attention to yourself.  An example:  McCarthy depicts a hopeless world gone mad.)
  3. C.      Supporting passage from the novel with page reference
    Do you think that your fathers are watching?  That they weigh you in their ledgerbook?  Against what?  There is no book and your fathers are dead in the ground.  (196)
  4. D.       Clarifying statement(s) (Supporting literary or historical examples may be useful). Here McCarthy describes a sense of loneliness brought on by a world where virtually everyone has died, leaving the father and son with the understanding that a humanitarian purpose is meaningless in this fictional earth.  A world of this description is incomprehensible and maddening.
  5. E.       Conclusive statement  A solid body paragraph utilizes at least three sources of evidence to support your observed point.  Finally your body paragraph expresses a statement that emphasizes your discussion:  EXAMPLE:  Imagining a society where hopelessness, despair, and mental trauma are the norm rather than an anomaly is the  intent of McCarthy throughout the novel. 

An “A” Conclusion:

  1. Restate your thesis statement
  2. Review your main points (here you will want to use a final passage from the novel and/or a historical, literary or spiritual reference).
  3. End with your lesson-of-life statement, in this case in order not to appear redundant, you should conclude your essay with a statement that summarizes the protagonist’s demonstration of faith.

    Remember that the purpose of a well-constructed conclusion is to demonstrate the insight that the writer and reader have shared in order to express a common, profound understanding.  EXAMPLE:  McCarthy demonstrates in The Road that when humanitarian is stripped of its faith–it’s knowledge of the purpose of life, that the human endeavor has no value or importance.