Abstract

This paper analyzes the material, social, and ideological composition of The Road's post-apocalyptic world through the lens of Benjaminian historical materialism. The Road historicizes the post-apocalyptic condition through its framing of the relationship between the novel's present and its late capitalist prehistory. The ideological project of the father and son, as they seek to convey “the fire” across the desiccated wasteland, entails the performance of a mode of human relationality that conflicts with the late capitalist ideologies of the past and their behavioral residue in the cannibalistic practices of the apocalypse's other survivors. The Road transcends purely negative social criticism by offering, through the praxis of the father and son, the outline of a utopian alternative to the social order that produced and continues to shape the novel's post-apocalyptic world.

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