Hello hello! If you’re new to my project, hello! And if you’re coming back, hello! (You get a hello, you get a hello, everyone gets a hello!)
To recap, my research inquiry is “How can terror management theory’s dual process model be applied to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to generate a new understanding of The Road, as well as of terror management theory?”. To answer this inquiry, I designed a qualitative methodology to collect quotes and sort them into categories based on the dual-process model of terror management theory. After collecting preliminary data on the first fifty pages of the novel, I continued to categorize quotes for the rest of the book. These quotes were then sorted based on progression (i.e. whether or not an instance of death anxiety provocation lead to a proximal defense, distal defense, or both). This yield the categories “DA only,” “DA+PD,” “DA+DD,” and “DA+PD+DD.” (DA means death anxiety, PD means proximal defenses, and DD means distal defenses.) I decided to analyze the frequency of permutations of death anxiety (DA), proximal defenses (PD), and distal defenses (DD) in The Road.
Here are my final data:
I turned this data into the following pie chart, a visual display of the frequency of proximal and distal defenses in the novel. I decided to omit the category “DA only” from my data analysis because the dual-process model is mostly concerned with the interactions between death anxiety and proximal defenses versus death anxiety and distal defenses, so the category “DA only” would be somewhat redundant.
I’ll delve into data analysis and results in the next post. Stay tuned! As always, ending this post with another lyrical, beautifully-crafted quote from The Road. This block quote comes from page 153:
He’s been visited in a dream by creatures of a kind he’d never seen before. They did not speak. He thought that they’d be crouching by the side of his cot as he slept and then had skulked away on his awakening. He turned and looked at the boy. Maybe he understood for the first time that to the boy he was himself an alien. A being from a planet that no longer existed. The tales of which were suspect. He could not construct for the child’s pleasure the world he’d lost without constructing the loss as well and he thought perhaps the child has known better than he. He tried to remember the dream but he could not. All that was left was the feeling of it. He thought perhaps they’d come to warm him. Of what? That he could not enkindle in the heart of the child what was ashes in his own… Some part of him always wished it to be over.