This chapter argues that to perform a site reading of Cormac McCarthy's The Road is to appreciate how the text functions as a novel of purpose that aims to vivify the planet as what Latour would call a “matter of concern.” Still, The Road reads less as a critique of contemporary social problems than as a “thought-experiment,” a sort of literary climate model, forecasting a chillingly plausible correlation between a ruined site and a grisly social order. By imagining this correlation through narrative form, McCarthy offers his own striking contribution to environmental and sociological thought, a contribution that starts to become apparent the moment we ask how his setting functions as an actant, both in the novel itself and beyond.
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