I wrote this analysis in response to a call for papers from the Cormac McCarthy society on The Road’s influence in Popular Culture; the paper is forthcoming in a book of scholarly essays called Carrying the Fire: The Road and the Apocalyptic Tradition. When I played The Last of Us for the first time in 2013, I was immediately forging connections between McCarthy’s novel and the game. While I wasn’t the first to notice the parallel in the narrative (Colin Moriarty first pointed out the similarity on IGN, and the game’s creators have answered several questions about how McCarthy impacted their work,) my project does closely analyze the thematic and structural similarities in both texts. In future projects, I will be eager to explore further literary parallels in other games with serious narratives.
"Then it don’ matter. Then I’ll be all aroun’ in the dark. I’ll be ever’where — wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’ — I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build — why, I’ll be there. See? God, I’m talkin’ like Casy. Comes of thinkin’ about him so much. Seems like I can see him sometimes." - Tom Joad, Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath