The themes in these pages of Cormac McCarthy's 2006 novel The Road include the reciprocal filial love between the boy and his father as well as the dichotomy between "good guys" and "bad guys."
A nameless boy and his father are traveling along a road in a post-apocalyptic landscape, foraging for food and trying to stay warm by means of fire. The boy is young, and his father's protective instinct very great. Amid this landscape, the boy's father is ill, and the two survive on very little to eat, regularly encounter corpses left in homes, and sleep wherever they can find warmth and shelter (such as in an abandoned car).
When a dog joins them, the boy implores the father to let the dog come with them on their journey and not to hurt the dog, to which the father assents. The boy's love for the dog mirrors the love that his father has shown him.
When the father sees a group whom he expects to be marauders, he says, "keep your face down." The formidable group is described as follows:
Bearded, their breath smoking through their masks. Shh, he said. Shh. The phalanx following carried spears or lances tasseled with ribbons, the long blades hammered out of trucksprings in some crude forge up-country. The boy lay with his face in his arms, terrified. They passed two hundred feet away, the ground shuddering lightly. Tramping. Behind them came wagons drawn by slaves in harness and piled with goods of war and after that the women, perhaps a dozen in number, some of them pregnant, and lastly a supplementary consort of catamites illclothed against the cold and fitted in dog collars and yoked each to each. (92)
The boy asks, "Were they the bad guys?" The father says that they were (93). The boy has an implicit trust in his father, and the father an instinctive desire to protect his young son.