Book Analysis: Road to Perdition

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Rebekah Newby
March 28, 2013
Mr. Zeglin
Road to Perdition
Throughout Road to Perdition, Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development is evident mostly through the Post-Conventional stage in the abstract moral reasoning and quest for fairness by the main characters. Throughout the movie it follows an orphan named Mike Sullivan who’s raised by a crime boss by the name of Jeff Rooney. Mike Sullivan then becomes a hit man for Jeff Rooney. One night while on the job Sullivan’s own son Mike Sullivan Jr. witnesses him doing his job by killing someone. Sullivan makes his son promise to keep what he saw a secret. He then swears that his son will keep the secret and not tell anyone but Rooney’s biological son Connor is not satisfied with this. Connor then goes and kills Sullivan’s wife and younger child. This causes Sullivan to have to make some difficult choices while fleeing Chicago with his son Mike Jr. Right in the beginning of the movie we witness Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development through the fact that Sullivan becomes involved in crime like Rooney. This shows the Conventional stage of Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development because the Conventional stage states that in this stage one is more concerned with behaving in their own social roles expected of them by society. Society expects Sullivan to become involved in crime just like Rooney did because Sullivan didn’t really have parental figures and Rooney was his only real parental figure in life. Depending on the way that one looks at it some may argue that this could also be the Post-Conventional stage. The Post-Conventional stage states that in this stage one will go through what they have to go through to get fairness. One could argue that becoming a hit man to protect Rooney could be Post Conventional because Sullivan may feel as though it is fair to do this since Rooney raised him like a son. We can also see the Post-Conventional Stage of Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development through the series...
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