The Road is presumably among the most intriguing of stories with the post-apocalyptic theme. Written by author Cormac McCarthy, it tells of the story of a father and son, on a journey towards a better place at the near the sea where they will meet other good people. They face numerous challenges and undergo many events together along the way to their destination. As a father and son journey along a desolate road in a burned out world, several events cause both characters to change, so that the ultimate effect is that they reflect on their conditions and what lies ahead in of them before reaching their destination.
“What would you do if I died?”. The young boy asks his father this question; a question interjected within a conversation shared by the two before the son finally falls asleep. This conversation is one event that points out to the father, as well as the reader, on the dire situation they are engulfed in. The event really affects the father and first causes him to contemplate on the gravity of the matter and the utter desolation that has become their life. As the man in charge, he answers the question as he should, in a way that would make the son feel safe and protected. However, as a grown man, he knows that the issue is weightier and requires more thoughtful reflection as well as great resolve. On the other hand, he knows that he may be the one to die first, as it happens at the end of the story, leaving the child to face such hardship alone. Much contemplation causes him to lie “listening to the water drip in the woods” under the “cold and silent” night. Moreover, the event causes the father to turn to God as seen in his many moments of desperation. As he awakes early in the morning of the next day, the father is reminded of how elusive the past good life has become; turning into an apparition that can neither be touched nor felt. Coupled with the coughing, the father looks up to God with whispers that express the inner turmoil of his heart.
The conversation, on the other hand, gradually leads the son to reflect on what would happen to the father’s future in event of his death. The gradual flow of the conversation causes him to ask the father questions that outline the awful conditions around them. In spite of the terrible circumstance, the father gives reassuring answers to his son’s inquiries. In essence, the event leaves positive effect on the son. He is reassured of his father’s protection, and his love; a feeling that finally brings sleep to his eyes. It is a somber event that affects both immensely; while the son gets reassurance, the father is lead to further picture the intensity of the dreadful situations, that their immediate future holds for them.
The occasion at the supermarket exemplifies the close relationship between father and son, and goes a long way to show both their unselfish concern for each other. After withdrawing the coca cola can from one of the gutted machine, the father takes some time to look at the can, before eventually giving it to his son. The father’s unselfish gesture causes the son, to not only reflect on the love bestowed upon him, but also generate concern for his welfare. In response to the gesture, the son offers the drink telling the father to “have some of it” . Of note is the fact that having the drink leads the son to further reflect on another opportunity of having such a drink; perceiving that it may be the last time ever. As a considerate and loving father, the man hands the only beverage can to the son; a show of thoughtful concern. Finding the can leads him to allow for the son to sit and let the son enjoy the drink. It generally influences a stronger bond of mutual love between them. In addition to this, through the ensuing conversation, the occasion leads the father to reflect on the length of time that they may have to live in the same manner. In letting the son know that “ever” is a long time, the man is led to display a rather hidden acknowledgement that they may have to live in similar manner for a longer time; which may be lesser than “ever”.
In frantic such for food, the two come face to face with the horrors of cannibalism and the dreadful situation its victims have been forced to surrender to (McCarthy 107). As they desperately run away from the house and its owners, the son is overwhelmed with fear. It is an event that fills both with the trepidation beyond imagination, leading the son to constantly question on whether they will be killed. In addition to fear, the son is affected to such a great extent that requires hope and more support, which only his father could offer. He asks his father to promise that he would not leave him; a question whose only answer he needed to hear was an affirmation that the father would always be at his side. On the other hand, the event not only caused the father to forget their starvation for a moment, but to make a quick decision that would ensure the son does not face the terrible death that seemed imminent; however, coming at his own expense. Its effect on the man is seen by the sudden shifting of priorities for both of them. Security and protection from the villains becomes the urgent need rather than the search for food, as he has the onus to make sure his son stays safe. Consequently, this incidence arouses the need to place the life and welfare of the son above his own life.
It is a somber event as the father lies dying, illustrating a future without the prospects of being together as father and son. In this occasion, the father is caused to allay his son’s fears and concerns, with the encouragement that he’ll “find the good guys like them”. Effect of the event lead the father to know that his death is sure and near, causing him to point out to his son the fact that he needed “to carry the fire”. As also noted by Bloom, it leaves the father with the realization “that the son must go on without him”. To the son, it influences and prompts a new perspective in his life. It affects his outlook with the fact that he now has to defend himself and to continue with the journey. Effects of the father’s words and his death spur responsibility and a more mature outlook in the young boy as he now faces friends and foes alone. This is exemplified in the episode where rather than run scared into the woods after noting the sounds of someone approaching him, the young boy stands in the road with the pistol in hand; a show of his resolve with awareness that he had to defend himself.
In the end, it is seen that each event left significant effects on the story’s main characters. In many instances, the events left both father and son, more desolate and afraid, after numerous incidents with cannibals, starvation, and exhaustion among other challenges. However, of note is the fact that these occasions reminded them of their journey ahead, making father and son reflect on what lay in their future. In the end, only the son remains, “carrying on the fire” into his future.