Sun absent in the sky
Falling ash, ashen snow......
What would you do if there was an apocalypse and you were one of the few remaining on earth? How would your faith be tested? In the movie The Road based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same title by Cormac McCarthy, a man and his son find themselves in this scenario. The man’s wife has taken her own life unable to go on under the extreme conditions that they have been living under and hoping to create more of a chance of survival for the remaining two. The movie follows the pair on the road to reach the southern coast to find warmth and possible life. Along the way their values are tested profoundly and the boy must make a herculean choice.
What struck me the most was looking at the breakdown of society and the construction of a new order in which people were no longer valued for their humanity. To witness the savagery that people turned to in their desperation in order to survive was shocking. It became a crowd mentality, where people acquiesced in order not to be on the outside: the ones attacked and ultimately eaten. There was a renegade leadership running rampant that followed the mantra of survival of the fittest and if you were outside of one of these groups, you literally were running for your life.
One image that continues to haunt me is the scene involving a loaded gun: their only means of protection. In this scene the father shows his little boy how to put the pistol in his mouth and aim upwards toward his brain for a quick and painless death. The loaded gun that the father and son kept ultimately contained only one bullet and would be the saving grace to prevent the boy from a horrific end at the hands of the cannibalistic survivors. The father knew at this point that he was dying and would not be there to protect his son in the future. Such a tragic, tragic image. But within that image, there exists unconditional love.
Another theme that ran throughout the film and touched my core was that of trust. The boy asks a stranger at one point, “Are you one of the good guys?”. In a lawless and desperate society the role of good guy can flip on a dime. We can only trust our instincts and make a decision based on the information that we have at hand.
I suppose the answer to how you would handle being in a similar situation would depend upon your faith and your views of life, death and after-life. I hope we never see an apocalypse in a million lifetimes from now, but if we did, I know what I would do.
Copyright Michelle Beckham-Corbin 2011-2012