Because Ideas Matter...
The faculty and staff of Butler University's College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences presents
by Cormac McCarthy, Vintage, 2007
Reviewed by William Johnston
You can enjoy reading McCarthy's Pulitzer
Prize Winner literally, as a powerful tale of a dying father's
loving care for his ten year-old son as they journey determinedly
through an unfamiliar post-apocalyptic physical world - filled with
dust, ashes, cruelty, and gritty fog - toward a coastal region in
hopes of life renewed. Most people read it this way. You can also
read it metaphorically, where that desolation is a spiritual
wilderness and may now seem familiar: where is God in this
wasteland? As McCarthy describes, the father awakes one morning,
raises his face to a paling day, and whispers in prayer, "Are you
there? Will I see you at the last? Have you a neck by which to
throttle you? Have you a heart? Damn you eternally have you a soul?
Oh God. Oh God."
Has your life ever traveled through wilderness? (Resulting from
your own doubt? Or from others' cruelty or life's spears?) Can you
handle this story's bleakness? Would you value the insights the
metaphorical reading conveys? Can you hope that something better
might finally be ahead in that coastal region (even as nothing
indicates survival is worthwhile)? Then get this book. Take the
journey with strong heart. God is indeed there, but only as we
love. And hope…patiently.
- William Johnston is professor of mathematics at Butler