Are there examples in the text from The Road that show how the Boy looks out for others?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Cormac McCarthy's The Road, the father sees the road as an escape to safety, but the boy sees it as redemption--a way of finding a family.  The father is paranoid that a cannibal is going to kill his son before he can get him to the shore.  The boy, however, is more trusting of strangers.  The father sees carrying the fire as a means of survival; the boy sees carrying the fire as faith in humanity.

Toward the end of the novel, the father and son come across a man who steals their cart.  The father wants to take the man's clothes and leave him for dead, but the boy advocates for the old man:

"Papa please dont kill the man."

And later:

"Just help him, Papa. Just help him. He was just hungry, Papa. He's going to die. He's going to die anyway. He's so scared, Papa.

The boy's decision to spare the man's life not only shows the boy's kindness, but it marks his becoming a man himself.

In the end, after the father dies, the boy must decide to go back to the road or hide in the woods.  Does he follow his father's paranoid strategy and hide form people?  Or does he trust his heart and follow the road.  In the end, the boy exposes himself on the road.  Either he's dead or he's saved.  Luckily, he meets the man with the shotgun, who happens to be the father of the lost boy.

In this way, the boy's decision to help others and have faith in humanity saves himself.  His kindness is repaid in kindness.