Does The Road by Cormac McCarthy convey more than one idea on the theme of hope? If so, what are they?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to the theme of hope in The Road, McCarthy's work conveys ideas of survival and love.

In The Road, the need to survive is shown as a major part of human identity. The boy and his father struggle mightily to simply exist. They could quit. However, they struggle to survive because it is a part of who they are. They understand that survival is what defines a human being. The Road shows a world where many people did not survive. It also shows a world of terrible cruelty. However, these elements do not taint what the boy and his father believe. They believe that part of being a human is to fight for survival. When the boy asks his father if they are going to die, the man resolutely says, "Not now." This determination to live is a major theme in The Road.

The Road also speaks of love. The love between the father and the son is a major idea that emerges in the book. The struggle to survive is connected to the love that they share with one another:

They slept huddled together in the rank quilts in the dark and the cold. He held the boy close to him. So thin. My heart, he said. My heart. But he knew that if he were a good father still it might well be as she had said. That the boy was all that stood between him and death.

Human identity is forged in the face of what we love and what loves us back.