“The end of the world as we know it”: losing and finding immortality in a post-apocalyptic world
Stokes-Mlotkiewicz, Elizabeth Antoinette
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This paper explores the relationship between man, nature and immortality through the lens of two novels: The Children of Men by P.D. James, and The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The paper looks at the way these two novels approach the end of humanity and how the characters respond to the pending extinction. In The Road a nuclear holocaust wipes everything out, covering the world in ash, and slowly killing humans much the way the dinosaurs died. The Children of Men focuses on the singular extinction of the human race alone, through world-wide infertility. If our immortality has always been assure by our progeny, and the knowledge that we live on through them both biologically and through the art and literature and creations that we leave behind for future generations, what becomes of humanity when there are no future generations? Is the immortality of humans something only achieved within the human race, or is there hope that we can embrace a more holistic sense of our place in the natural order? Is there a type of immortality granted to us simply because we are part of the whole of nature? And if so, is it enough for mankind?
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of English