McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men and The Road depict intimate father-child relationships that are best explained by what sociologist Anthony Giddens calls “the transformation of intimacy in the twentieth century.” Whereas father-child relations are fixed within a rigid social structure in premodernity, in modernity they become a voluntary site for commitment that requires the deliberate cultivation of trust. In McCarthy’s two novels, this cultivating of trust takes the form of shared routines, dialogue, and watchwords. The intimacy and connection that these create give McCarthy’s fathers a needed sense of security in an otherwise disorienting and disillusioning modern world. The displacement of traditional familial networks by abstract systems then ultimately leads back to one of the most basic forms of social network: the parent-child relationship.

You do not currently have access to this content.