I have an essay to do and I need some ideas on the following question:What makes the boy and his father so powerful and poignant? What do they feel for each other? How do they maintain their...

I have an essay to do and I need some ideas on the following question:

What makes the boy and his father so powerful and poignant? What do they feel for each other? How do they maintain their affection for and faith in each other in such brutal conditions?

 

Thank you.

 

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would think that the best way to answer this question is to examine the dynamic and connection between both father and son.  In a world where all signs of life have been eradicated, I would pay attention to the moments where McCarthy illuminates their relationship.  Obviously, a level where this connection is enhanced is how the boy learns what his father models. His resourcefulness and usefulness in the face of overwhelmingly negative odds helps to forge the relationship between them.  It seems as if the boy looks at his father with even more reverence for the protection and stewardship he gives to both of them in the face of such a trying condition.  This predicament, devoid of anything good, creates a haven in a heartless world in the relationship between both father and son.  Consider the trying nature being presented.  All of civilization has been obliterated,  the father is sick, his wife is no longer with them, with the dual difficulties in the struggle for survival and protection are all situations where the bond between them are enhanced.  I would pay attention to how McCarthy describes these situations, and in particular, the relationship between them.  McCarthy felt that his own son was an inspiration for the boy in the novel.  I think that in paying attention to the descriptions of the moments when the father's responsibility to his son transcended the conditions of struggle and difficulty, one can see how the relationship between father and son is so strong and poignant.

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