I have an essay to do for school on the book "The Road," by Cormac McCarthy. I can't answer this question. Can you help me out?When does the boy become a man? What does he see that his father...

I have an essay to do for school on the book "The Road," by Cormac McCarthy. I can't answer this question. Can you help me out?

When does the boy become a man? What does he see that his father can’t?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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At the end of the novel the boy and the father raid an abandoned boat.  The boy becomes very ill and the father is terrified that the boy will die.  He cares for the boy and does everything he can to help the child get better.  When the boy recovered the man let his guard down a little.  McCarthy writes that they took walks along the beach, ate big meals on the food they had found and even built a lean-to for shelter.  Before he could break camp and move on someone stole everything they had.

The man and the boy tracked down the thief and recover their belongings.  It is here that the boy finally demonstrates his growth from a boy to a man.  The father wants to kill the thief.  He instead makes the man strip of everything he is wearing and leaves him alone, naked, and starving.  The boy and the man leave the thief standing in the road.  The boy is crying and his father, the man, keeps telling him to stop.  The boy sits in the road and cries.  The father tells the boy that he thief is gone but the boy argues with him and states that he is not. The father asks,

"What do you want to do?"

"Just help him, Papa. Just help him."

The man looked back up the road.  "He was just hungry, Papa.  He's going to die. "

"He's going to die anyway."

"He's so scared, Papa.

The man squatted and looked at him. "I'm scared, he said.  Do you understand? I'm scared."

The boy didn't answer. He just sat there with his head bowed, sobbing.  "You're not the one who has to worry about everything."  The boy said something but he couldn't understand him. "What?" he said.

He looked up, his wet and grimy face. "Yes, I am," he said.  "I am the one."

They did go back but the man was gone and nowhere to be found.  The relationship between the man and the boy changed from this point on.  The boy could see a starving, scared man but the man, the boy's father could only see a thief.

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