"The Road" by Cormac McCarthy: pages 1-150. List 5 quotes from the book. Explain what the quotation means, what is the significance, and why it resonates?

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Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1. Quote: "What would you do if I died?"

Here, the boy is thinking of death as he ponders his situation with his father in this post-apocalyptic setting. The boy is concerned with life and death and he wants to understand his father's thoughts - how will the father feel and act if he dies. This quote resonates with the reader because the boy is now forced to, in essence, grow up quickly and face the big questions in life.


2. Quote: "It was an earthquake. It's gone now. We're all right. Shh."

The father is explaining to the boy that the rumbling, shaking feeling in the night was an earthquake. The boy is frightened and the father seeks to console and protect him. This line foreshadows future troubles in the story; everything is not all right; there will be more 'earthquakes' in an emotional sense as they fight to survive.

3. Quote: "We're not going to kill it, are we Papa?"

The father and the boy happen upon a dog. The boy is afraid that the father may want to kill the dog, maybe for food. He doesn't want to see the dog killed. The boy has seen enough death, destruction, and killing. In his innocence, he wants to see this dog live - as any boy does.

4. Quote: "They're going to eat them, aren't they?"

The boy is now understanding that cannibalism is overtaking the land. Human beings are becoming desperate and wicked. This line is significant because the boy is truly losing his innocence and he's witnessing man's depravity and he's trying to understand and come to terms with the gravity of their situation.

5. Quote: "Maybe we could give him something to eat."

The boy and his father come upon an old man. The father says they can't stay here - they have to go. However, the boy has compassion and mercy for the old man. He wants to help the man by giving him food and he wants his father to acquiesce to his wishes. Here, we see that the element of human love and concern for a fellow human being is still within the boy - and even his father - although it takes the boys urgings to get his father to agree with him that they should help this old man in some way.

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