The Road: The compassion of the Boy

Topics: Man, Boy, Empathy Pages: 3 (1110 words) Published: May 4, 2014
(Name)
Ms. Hopkins
AP English Language and Composition
7 March 2014
Literary Criticism: The compassion of the boy
In a post-apocalyptic world full of grim emptiness, there are not room for preoccupations other than survival. The plot of The Road consists of the man and the boy, the two main characters, traveling south towards a road in order to survive. With that being said, the road is a love story between the father and son. Throughout the novel the father and the boy are faced with morally compromising situations that end the same: after they survive the event, the father ensures the son that they are still the good guys. When the boy shows his compassion for everyone except himself, despite what his father and better judgment suggest; there is hope in a seemingly hopeless world.

The boy’s compassion represents the last piece of hope in this novel. The father says in the beginning of the book, "If he is not the Word of God, then God never spoke” (McCarthy, 5). It remains unclear whether the boy gets his compassion from his father’s persistence to survive or despite this persistence. At first it seems as if the man lacks compassion, but his optimism about the boy’s future grows despite the fact that the father’s future is growing more nonexistent with each mile on the road. This is ironic because the father is growing more sick each day. His optimism is his way of showing his compassion for the boy. The boy is a young child and it seems that his father lacks understanding for some of the boy’s actions that are immature. However, the father shows his compassion for the boy by staying optimistic. For example, in this world that consists only of dead or dying nature, falling trees are a very common occurrence, as trees are falling as they walk through the woods, the man tells the boy “All the trees in the world are going to fall sooner or later. But not on us” (McCarthy, 35). This is an example of how the father comforts his son, displaying compassion....
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