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Journey of Both the Father and Son in the Book “The Road”: Critical Analysis

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In the book “The Road” the author uses different themes to describe the journey of both the father and son. But one theme that keeps reoccurring is hope. It may be neither about losing or gaining hope. Throughout the dark events that happen in which it seems like an end of a road, but in those hard times moments hope prevails and grows. In this post-apocalyptic environment, the father and son are fighting to keep going and stay sane while restoring their humanity as well as looking for what humanity is survived in this murder or be murdered world. As their time travelling down the road rises up so do the threat and hurdle the encounter to live. The more they survive the more hope grows in them appearing that in even in the most difficult events having hope helps them reach out to finding the light at the end of the tunnel and not feel consumed by darkness.

In this new environment it is no longer a matter of just continuing to live, but keeping your humanity while striving hard to survive. While it is easier to turn to evil and be the villain person, the father and son fight to make sure what humanity they have restore to be the good people, which in this post-apocalyptic environment almost consumed their lives multiple times. On a constant battle searching for food they almost end up dying from hunger and lose a lot of body mass, but fortunately come upon dried apples and also found a bomb shelter full of food. The villain guys however, have completely turn into mentally disturbed and become cannibal as a way turning this new environment into a murder be murdered world. They found the result of cannibalism directly. The father and son “could see part of a stone wall. Clay floor. An old mattress darkly stained… Huddled against the back wall were naked people, male and female, all trying to hide, shielding their faces in their hands.” (Page 110). They saw the people in the basement that are imprisoned as a source of food for mentally disturbed people, cannibals. Haunted by what they saw the son make the father swear that they won’t ever consume people and if it weren’t for the son the father would have become depress and lost hope, possibly he could end up like his wife did.

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The only reason the father has to keep going is his son, his only hope. The father would do anything to make sure his son continues to live and do a lot of sacrifices for his son like giving him the cola to gratify or giving more blankets to stay warm throughout the night. The father has so much love for his son and see him like a godlike risking everything to keep his son alive and safe. The father even said, “My job is to take care of you. I was appointed to do that by God. I will kill anyone who touches you.” (Page 77). The son’s hope is being a good person which is his primary concern throughout the book, not just living together with his father and staying alive. The son is so innocently young and is already encountered to all these terrifying aspects of this environment he doesn’t know any better other than both he and his father must stay being the good people. The son has a lot of hope and the father can’t help but to try and please his son as best as he can. Even when the father feels like they are on the brink of dying he thinks of his son who keeps hope growing in them both.

Both the father and son encounter endless dangers from the cannibals, to lack of basic necessities like food and water throughout their journey on the road. There is always fear each time the face others on the road and knowing whether or not they good or bad people. In one incident, the father shoots a man for looking and touching his son the wrong way. Then as they move on, they see what look like to be a couple of people that has some sort of cult system. The father and son are trying to stay quiet, “Behind them came wagons drawn by slaves in harness and pile with goods of war and after that the women, perhaps a dozen in number, some of them pregnant, and lastly a supplementary consort of catamites ill clothed against the cold an fitted in dog collars and yoked each to each.” (Page 92). Both the father and son are able to keep out of strangers’ sight, but have to see this terrifying scene showing how those strangers need someone to be in a power they need setup and would have it at any costs. Then there is the on going battle of just continuing to live without dying from hunger or dehydration. Just when all hopes seem gone and it seems as if they are to die, they discover something. On one incident they find dried apples and another place the bomb shelter that has everything they need and these periods of time hope pulls through and propels them to keep going. Lastly there is mother nature they cannot stay away since it is the primary place, they trek through in most of the book. The falling trees almost cost them their lives, but somehow, they survive. Nature is always to be afraid of for it is unexpected, but they also like it by swimming in the water falls even if its really cold and at the beach as well those periods of time of hope were fare greater than any difficulties they had to encounter.

Most people wouldn’t know what to do in this kind of environment and the big question would be to go easy path way and be the bad person or have hope and fight to be the good person no matter how much more challenging it is. It seems as if though every time there was no hope something would happen to rebuild it and it makes one wonder whether there was something greater assisting them. Although the father and son had hoped the son was the one who even in the toughest situation never lost it and caused his father to have more hope than ever. When the father was on the verge of dying, he says to his son, “You have to carry the fire.” (Page278). The fire symbolizes hope and humanity the son has, not just because he is innocent, naïve and young to fully understand, but he truly is a good person and wants to keep on to whatever humanity he can because it’s all he has left. When the father died it seems as if the son will to and somehow good people find him who happen to have children his age, so he joins them. The fish at the end of the book is a sign of hope, the father once said, “Okay. This is what the good guys do. They keep trying. They don’t give up.” (Page 137).

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Journey of Both the Father and Son in the Book “The Road”: Critical Analysis. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Journey of Both the Father and Son in the Book “The Road”: Critical Analysis.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
Journey of Both the Father and Son in the Book “The Road”: Critical Analysis. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Journey of Both the Father and Son in the Book “The Road”: Critical Analysis [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 12 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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