In The Road by Cormac McCarthy, the father tries to prevent his son from seeing the dead on the highway, but it appears not to bother the boy. Do you think this is true? Why?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Road is an intense account of the possibilities for the survival of mankind after an earthshattering catastrophe. Many of the things expected of a story like this do take place - Man returns to a state of survival of the fittest - even to the point of eating other people. However, historically, there are few accounts - except from a ritualistic or cultural perspective - of people being cannibals. It is more, perhaps, people's own curiosity of what a world like that could be.

"The good guys" must prevail; even in the depths explored in The Road. Lapses, such as the boy's apparent reaction - or actually lack of reaction - to the bodies on the highway, are indicative of the helplessness they felt. The boy was clearly affected by the bodies as, from his apology later, he obviously ponders the sight . After seeing the charred remains of a headless baby, he recognizes his own seemingly unaffected response to the previous event and the boy apologizes to his father.

The father is terrified that his son will give up if he sees such terrible things and has warned him

"When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again then you will have given up”   

The boy's talk of the baby and how, had it been alive, they could have taken it with them do show that, despite all this, the boy (and his father) remains one of the "good guys. "