Inverting the ‘Gracelorn’ Father: Augustinian Notions of Evil and Goodness in Cormac McCarthy’s Outer Dark and The Road

Cormac McCarthy’s novels Outer Dark (1968) and The Road (2006) project different visions of fatherhood, yet both focus on men who travel dark, unnamed roads as they grapple with their responsibility to their children. The relation between the two novels indicates the possibility that fatherhood is t...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Literature and theology
Main Author: Griffis, Rachel B.
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Oxford University Press 2022
In: Literature and theology
Year: 2022, Volume: 36, Issue: 1, Pages: 79-95
IxTheo Classification:CD Christianity and Culture
KAB Church history 30-500; early Christianity
KAJ Church history 1914-; recent history
NCB Personal ethics
Online Access: Volltext (lizenzpflichtig)
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Summary:Cormac McCarthy’s novels Outer Dark (1968) and The Road (2006) project different visions of fatherhood, yet both focus on men who travel dark, unnamed roads as they grapple with their responsibility to their children. The relation between the two novels indicates the possibility that fatherhood is the primary vehicle through which McCarthy explores good and evil. By drawing on Saint Augustine’s privative theory, this article suggests that evil in Outer Dark signifies an absence or perversion of virtue while The Road presents goodness as active submission to a moral authority. Reading the two novels together consequently affirms Augustine’s suggestion that ‘in vice there lurks a counterfeit beauty’. The portrayal of fatherhood in The Road elucidates the ‘counterfeit beauty’ of Outer Dark, which extends and deepens the theological dimensions of both works.
ISSN:1477-4623
Contains:Enthalten in: Literature and theology
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1093/litthe/frac001