"He walked out on the beach to the edge of the light and stood with his clenched fists on top of his skull and fell to his knees sobbing with rage." Explain the emotions the man in The Road is...

"He walked out on the beach to the edge of the light and stood with his clenched fists on top of his skull and fell to his knees sobbing with rage." Explain the emotions the man in The Road is feeling and the reason why.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This section comes towards the end of the novel and is when the boy has a fever that is threatening his life. It is easy to identify the man's frustration, anger and feelings of impotence in the quotation above. The most powerful emotion, "rage," clearly stems from the man's inability to do anything else except watch his son, and wait to see if he will get better. After having spent so many days doing everything he can to keep his son alive, he potentially may lose him through an illness.

In addition, as the text makes perfectly clear, he is beginning to fear that he is not going to make it. A few paragraphs earlier he is "slumped with coughing" and "staggering with fatigue." Note the following quote which comes just before the quotation in this question:

You have to stay near, he said. You have to be quick. So you can be with him. Hold him close. Last day of the earth.

It is clear from this that the man recognises not only that his son is in danger of dying, but that he also is suffering, and that as a result, he is failing in the duty he set himself to protect and care for his son. It is a realisation of both of these things that causes the man to experience such intense feelings of anger. After having given his all to protect his son, it looks as if it will all be taken away from him.

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