"Civilization" and the Physical Wasteland


"The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still gray serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead
reeds." pg. 6

They stood on the rock jetty and looked out to the south. A gray spittle lagging and curling in the rock pool. Long curve of beach beyond. Gray as lava sand. The wind coming off the water smelled faintly of iodine. That was all. There was no sea smell to it. On the rocks the remnents of some dark seamoss.They crossed and went on. At the end of the strand their way was blocked by a headland and they left the beach and took an old path up through the dunes and through the dead seaoats until they came out upon a low promontory. Below them a hook of land shrouded in the dark scud blowing down the shore and beyond that lying half over and awash the shape the shape of a sailboat's hull." pg. 221

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"They sat with their heels dug into the sand and watched the black sea wash up at their feet. Cold. Desolate. Birdless." pg. 215


"They followed a stone
wall past the remains of an orchard. The trees
in their ordered rows gnarled and black and the fallen limbs thick on the
ground." pg. 90


"He sat crosslegged in the leaves at the crest of a ridge and glassed
the valley below them with the binoculars. The still poured shape of a river.
The dark brick stacks of a mill. Slate roofs. An old wooden watertower bound
with iron hoops. No smoke, no movement of life." pg. 78

"They passed through towns that warned people away with messages
scrawled on the billboards. The billboards had been whited out with thin coats of paint in order to write on them and through the paint could be seen a pale palimpsest of advertisement for goods which no longer existed." pg. 128

Civilization within the novel is one that has been greatly altered by the apocolyptic events experienced. The remnents of a once civilized society can be seen scattered throughout the landscape as the man and boy made their way along the road. Many humans that have survived resort to animal instincts that force them to act inhumanely. Train tracks shown above recall when the man and boy found the train cars, having run out of gas and showing disturbing signs of past human lives.
The physical wasteland of The Road is desolate with ash covering all surfaces which once flourished with plants and animals. The wasteland is portrayed through the pictures shown above. These picture show mere guesses at what the environment would truly be like. These pictures do give insight to the world that these two characters walked through; alone.

Did the boy have an advantage over the man, having not known any other form of civilization?

How did the desolation of the enviroment reflect the novels tone?

What modern day connections can be made from the novel's portrayal of civilization and the physical environment?