In "The Road" what is the source of the father's hope despite the seemingly hopeless conditions of the post-apocalyptic world?
I have a 6-8 pg paper for my Contemporary Christian Thought course--I have ideas, but not 6-8 pages worth. I would really appreciate some dialogue on this theme! Thank yoU!
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To be honest, I don't feel like the father has very much hope at all. He seems to be in mere survival mode most of the time. He sets up transient markers that give him the hope that he needs to move forward each day--like reaching the coast, or heading south. These goals are temporary landmarks that help him to get up in the morning. Beyond those, beyond staying alive each day, hope isn't a huge part of the father's day. He talks more positively to his son than he does to himself; throughout the book, there are numerous scenes where the father, alone, questions God's purposes and motives, and expresses his frustration and hopelessness to God.
The only thing that gives him any form of hope or survival is his son. He admits to himself something his wife admitted before she left the world, which is that the only reason to survive was for their son. Eventually, for her, even that wasn't enough. Because he had a son to take care of and raise, he had to keep thriving, keep surviving. And, when you are a parent, you are a child's main source for developing a worldview and perspective. The father has a choice--relay a sense of total desperation and doom, of hopelessness and pessimism, or, try to raise your son with some sense of what is right and wrong in the world, with optimism and hope. The father decides to give his son some sense of hope in the world, something to live for. He tells him that they "carry the light," or, humanity's goodness, and they need to keep carrying it. He teaches him what is right and wrong, tells him about the good things of life before the destruction.
In essence, the source of the father's hope resides in helping his son to grow up to be a good man, despite the world that they are living in. That is all that he can hope for--he can't hope for survival to any certain degree, he can't hope for comforts, for answers, for peace--but he can hope that his son will be as unscathed as possible by the evil that destroyed the world. I hope those thoughts help to give you some more ideas. Good luck!
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