The trauma of 9/11 ushered in a new age of male-centered sentimentality. With its focus on a father's sacrificial love for his young son in a postapocalyptic setting, Cormac McCarthy's The Road reflects this shift to male-centered sentimentality. In The Road, McCarthy appropriates the sentimental novel as space for unembarrassed male tenderness by nullifying nation as a structuring force of masculinity, excluding the mother from the plot, and rendering sheltered domesticity as unheimlich. McCarthy's good-guy sentimental thereby undoes an implicitly matriarchal domestic power structure and confers upon the father the affective power traditionally ascribed to feminine or feminized sentimental subjects.
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Nell Sullivan; The Good Guys: McCarthy's The Road as Post – 9/11 Male Sentimental Novel. Genre 1 April 2013; 46 (1): 79–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-1907409
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