The Son In Cormac Mccarthy's The Road

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When reading Cormac McCarthy's excellent The Road, I couldn't help being struck by the contrasts between the two characters. The young boy is innocent, hopeful, accepting, trusting, and always looks for the goodness in other people and strives to help the less fortunate despite his own desperate circumstances. His father, on the other hand, is world-wise and world-weary, suspicious, guarded and fearful even as he tries to project a face of optimism to his son on their journey along the endless road and toward an indeterminate future. The son has never known any world other than the bleak wasteland through which they traverse, and accepts things as they are. His father, endlessly remembering what things were like before, and being painfully…show more content…
But he soldiers on, keeping a brave face for his son, perhaps believing that even if death awaits him there is the slightest chance of delivering his son to safety. It's an overwhelmingly improbable chance, but it's one he has to take. Keeping his son alive and away from harm has become the sole purpose in his life, a mission he gladly undertakes out of love and devotion for his only child. The Road says a lot about what it means to be a parent, about how you will instinctively do absolutely anything to protect your children, even at the expense of your own well-being, but also that you have to make your children aware of the realities and dangers of the world so they can one day fend for themselves. Protecting your children won't do them any good at all if they never learn to live on their own. Since you won't always be there to watch over them, they have to learn to take care of themselves, and you have to have the strength to let go, as painful as that might be. The father in The Road did everything he could for his son, selflessly and valiantly in the face of horrible circumstances, and by the end of the story has prepared his son, as well as he could, for whatever future awaits him. And that is what every father, even those of us in a dramatically more hospitable world than that of the book, should forever strive
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