The Road

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Category: Literature

Date Submitted: 03/25/2013 06:32 PM

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Independent Reading Book Essay

The characters of a story are defined by their family, religion, culture, society, race and even gender. In the Road by Cormac McCarthy these influences play a large part in the main character’s choices and actions. The story is about a man and his son, who remain nameless throughout the story, and their travels through the ravaged landscape that is post-apocalyptic America. Together, they face many hardships and difficulties that they must overcome. Family, society, and dreams, in particular, heavily influence the characters’ decision making and actions.

The father and son relationship between the man and his son is a key aspect of the plot. The man feels that the only thing keeping him going in this new world is his son with the “boy being all that stood between him and death” (Cormac McCarty Pg. 44). With the rest of his family presumably dead, his son is the only family, friend, and companion the man has. The man will do anything to protect and assure the safety of the child. In one incident, the man, without hesitation, kills another man going to attack his son when they are discovered by one of many ‘gangs’. In another he steals clothing from another man to provide for his son. The man feels that hey child is sent by God for him to care for and even resolves to kill the boy himself if a hopeless situation should ever fall upon them.

Society also plays an important part in the man and son’s life. After an undefined apocalyptic event, society has virtually fallen apart. Survivors have adopted an ‘every man for himself’ attitude in order to survive. Things like electricity and running no longer exist in this world. The man and his son push around a shopping cart they fill with supplies and must salvage what they can from any remnants of society. The man and son at one point discover a man struck by lightning, but still alive. The boy desperately wants to help the man, but his father assures him that “No. We can’t help him....