In The Road, does good or evil seem to have the greater force?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is clear through the book that the forces of evil are very overwhelming. The constant danger that the father and his son face combined with the various "evil" characters they come across, and the way that the boy and father divide all characters into "good" and "evil" clearly indicates the forces of evil as being stronger and more numerous than the forces of good. However, what hope is offered to the reader is in the form of the continued relationship between the father and the son and the symbol of the "fire" that continues to be carried by both of them, and then by the son after the father's death. In addition, they refuse to eat human flesh, and this is something that the father describes as a feature that separates them from evil characters and makes them good.

Even when the father is dying, which is of course a section of the book where the forces of evil can be seen to triumph, as all of his attempts to protect and look after his boy seem to be futile, he assures his son to believe in a happy ending and in the forces of goodness. When the son asks his father about what will happen to "the little boy," or himself, after his father has died, the father responds using the following words:

Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again.

Although the reader may suspect that this represents a fairly naive view considering the image of the world that is presented, at the same time this optimism is supported by the way that goodness does find the boy in the form of a family who will take care of him and protect him. Even though evil is still out there and still a threat, the ending of this book shows that good is not completely extinguished, and that the forces of good still have the power to conquer the powers of evil.