The Road takes the form of a classic journey story, a form that dates back to Homer's Odyssey. To what destination are the man and the boy journeying? In what sense are they "pilgrims"? What, if any, is the symbolic significance of their journey?
2/2/2018 12:19:27 pm
It seems that the man and his son aren't really travelling anywhere specific. We see them travelling on The Road, but then the father says: "You dont know what might be down the road. We were always lucky. You'll be lucky again" (McCarthy 269). This makes it seem like he didn't actually know what awaited them if they followed the road,but rather that if they followed it they would hopefully be able to find the means to survive. We do see the small family being very successful on their search for a new, safe life, and this is primarily due to the son's talent for spotting the out of the ordinary and the father's determination to save his son. This also shows how much they are like pilgrims. The pilgrims fled their homes for a chance to find new life and opportunity and the man and boy seem to have done exactly that. While the father died and did not succeed, we see that the boy is going to continue on with others and perhaps find the life that they've always been waiting for. They will hopefully find food and the necessities to survive, making them like the successful pilgrims who were able to start safe new lives.
2/5/2018 10:16:43 pm
2/5/2018 10:49:57 pm
I can see your point on the man and boy traveling with an unknown destination. The quote you used really highlights the father’s views on life, and where him and his son may end up. This also brings a good point when speaking of the figurative road. I agree that the father wants him and his son to travel on this road because it seems like their only ticket to a possible good life. The road near them is their only hope because it’s the only thing that surrounds them with a purpose. Lastly, I like your idea of the man and boy being pilgrims. Even though the boy’s dad died, it didn’t stop him from getting the freedom and great life that they both always desired. No matter the circumstances, the both of them never gave up.
2/5/2018 10:57:00 pm
I agree with your quote choice too because I believe that it really does hint that The Man is unsure of what is likely to happen in the future knowing that he won’t live very much longer until they have reached their destination.Though The Man could not go on, he did not give up and neither did The Boy. It was saddening that The Boy had to leave his father in the woods after he passed, but also good that he was able to find “good people” and was able to accompany them on their journey too.
2/6/2018 01:12:41 am
I agree with your take on how the man and the boy are representative of the pilgrims; your summary of the pilgrims as people fleeing for "a chance to find new life and opportunity" struck me as both truthful and definitive of the man and the boy's journey- or should I say pilgrimage. Your take on their destination being unknown but highly awaited, however, I find to be too depressing. While they were never positive of what their destination was, I truly feel the father's only goal was to get the son somewhere he could survive; by dying in a place where the son was able to meet people matching the pair's opinions of the dystopian world, he was successful in reaching it.
Ursula K. Le Guin
2/20/2018 10:50:45 am
I had a very similar analyzation of this text! Even though the father continuously says that they are travelling to the South, I do not completely believe that this is their true destination. I believe that the destination they have is more figurative; like finding a peace of mind. On The Road, the boy and the father are forced to constantly be on alert and never really have a moment of full calm. Maybe by travelling to the South, the father hopes that they will find some form of sanctuary. On the other hand, maybe the father is just scared to stop moving because moving is truly all him and his son have ever known for years and years. Whenever they stop even to take a rest the boy becomes very anxious, so maybe by saying they are going to the South the father is able to keep the boy on his feet moving along because he knows that if they stop the boy will be in a state of unrest.
2/2/2018 09:47:58 pm
In the novel The Road, the man and his son are journeying towards the coast. The whole novel focuses on their voyage to their final destination. The journey on the road has its own significance and importance as well though. The mission on the road represents the desire to reach something better in the world they live in, despite how terribly destroyed it has became. The road the man and boy travel is also a learning experience. On the road, the two experience the lack of humanity that remains in their environment. The two characters are forced to watch out for cannibalism because there’s gangs of them posted everywhere. However, the road also symbolizes the idea of hope and positivity. Throughout the novel, the boy and the son don’t give up the hope they feel. They continue to travel on the road because they feel it will lead to a better place. The man and his son feel as though if they continue to move forward, they’ll find more people who share the same hope, and who haven’t given up on humanity. Lastly, to visit the idea of pilgrims, the son and the father are pilgrims carrying the fire. The fire they carried helped them live, and they were pilgrims because they were on this journey to find their happiness.
2/5/2018 11:29:17 pm
The idea of the father and son hoping to not only move forward in life, but to do so finding others, is representative of their hope. They think that they can find better for themselves and that along the way their will be more people who feel the same way. This idea can be connected to an even greater concept of hope as more people having faith in humanity could relate to the rebirth of humanity itself. If along the way the father and son find enough people they may be able to save the society that they once knew.
2/5/2018 11:30:12 pm
2/6/2018 08:49:43 am
I liked your idea about how the journey the men and the boy are on could be seen as a learning experience. The novel does revolve around their voyage to their destination, and this is why I believe that there seems to be significance of the actual road itself. In my opinion, the road symbolizes hope as it provides the man and the boy the opportunity to attempt to start a life in a better place than where they are coming from. Despite the fact that they are moving through a setting that is gray, barren, and filled with “bad people”, the road allows them to keep moving forward, both literally and figuratively. This is why I agree with your statement about how the journey they are on could symbolize positivity, because they keep moving, don’t give up, and are determined to reach their destination despite whatever obstacles try to halter their progress.
2/3/2018 12:00:02 am
In The Road, the man and his son have a goal centered on heading south, where they hope to find the "good people" and/or a better place to live. The father knows that his whole reasoning for the journey is fundamentally unsupported, but he knows that moving around and having a goal in mind is sorely needed by them to stay alive and not lose their sanity. Their journey on the road is usually marked by the skeletal remains of the old world, roving bands of thieves/ killers, and the occasional safe haven that enables them to survive just a bit longer. Pilgrims usually migrate to a holy place in seek of refuge, which exactly fits the objective that the man places for himself and his son. While the destination isn't important in this case (as we still don't know where the boy will go at the end of the book), the representation of the "end holy site" and what it stands for is more important than the place itself. It elicits the motivation to get there (and for that you need to stay alive), and its importance is once again revealed when the boy questions what the meaning of continuing is, to which the father replies "There are people and we will find them. You'll see" (McCarthy 244). In the end, the boy does find “good people”, and ends up showing that sticking true to your values when it seems that the whole world is against them can still lead to success. Now, the boy gets to “carry the fire” along with his new family and keep his/ humanity’s dream alive a little while longer, showcasing that not everything good from this world is extinguished yet.
2/6/2018 11:15:45 pm
I think you had some amazing points here. The way you compared the journey the boy & man and on to a pilgrimage isn't something I'd thought of. You comparing their destination to the "holy place" really puts emphasis on how important this quest is for the both of them, and the hope that can await them at the end of the line. Even if they got to their destination, where they ended up wouldn't matter. It'd have to do with how they got there from the beginning. Their obstacles/hardships would be what was important: the blossom of their relationships with each other is what's important. As important as the "holy site." (Word Count: 112)
2/5/2018 12:05:12 am
2/6/2018 01:23:36 am
I agree with your final opinion of their destination being a place that will "guarantee them a better chance of survival" because it seems that the father is hooked on their frayed map; while his only destination is to head further south for warmth, it is clear that he wishes to reach somewhere better. I found your take on the symbolic significance of the story- being to enhance the humanity of the boy so he "could carry the fire" for them both- to be rather knee-deep; I feel their journey was much more symbolic of the state of the world and what little could be done to repair what has been lost.
2/5/2018 12:15:04 am
The man and the boy are journeying to the south---that’s what is stated directly. But throughout my reading, I think they’re really journeying to a place of hope. They’re taking a journey to what they believe is a place that’ll satisfy some of their needs. That is how they are pilgrims. Pilgrims came to America in search of hope, to get away from the destruction they were facing in their home. They were seeking for a new one, to continue to build and thrive. The man is trying to find a place that’ll be safe for his son---to give him as much hope as possible during the months of his illness in an already terrible world.
2/5/2018 07:54:47 pm
I think you make some very interesting points. Safety was a major reason that people came to America and I think that that is very similar to how the man is traveling in an attempt to seep his son safe. We also see this unknown destination which also seems to resound with a pilgrimage. The pilgrims did not really know where they were going to end up. They only knew an approximation of where they were going, but none of them had even seen where they were going. They were holding on to the hope that they would find something good just as the man was hoping for his boy.
2/5/2018 04:59:24 pm
The man and the boy are on a journey to the coast throughout the novel, though there is no mention of them trying to get to a specific location there. They are simply hoping to find “the good people” and to be living in a place that is better where they are coming from. (It is probably for this reason that McCarthy chose not to give away their exact destination in the novel). The journey which they are embarking on can be seen as symbolic of hope, because despite the fact that the physical setting around them has basically been demolished by whatever disaster took place, the road on which they are travelling remains there and allows them to keep moving forward. I think that it is this concept which makes the man and the boy seem to be pilgrims, as they are venturing on a journey to find a better place for themselves in this post-apocalyptic world. This can be compared to the historical pilgrims who came to America seeking religious freedom, not in the sense that the man and the boy were seeking anything to do with religion, but in the sense that they were moving forward to create a better life for themselves.
2/5/2018 07:59:19 pm
Hope does seem to be one of the most important things in the novel. Regardless of what is going on they always seem to hope that they will find somewhere better. They also manage to hold o to the idea that they are the good guys, which is very important to accepting themselves, as it would be extremely difficult for the boy to keep going if he thought they were the evil ones. It is also quite interesting that he is able to see that they are the good ones. In this world, it seems that most people are cruel cannibals, so it is surprising that he does not think they are the good guys based on their greater numbers. Either way, this is showing again that they are pilgrims because they may be small in number but they know they are doing a good thing.
2/5/2018 11:19:22 pm
I think that this idea of the father and son journey symbolizing hope is very important and interesting. Like you stated, there is nothing specific that they are looking for because they need nothing, but a better life for themselves. Just as the pilgrims were, they are seeking a new and better life coming from nothing. Although not religion, they want something even more basic is simple happiness outside of their post-apocalyptic world. And with the idea of the road moving forward it is also symbolizing their lives moving forward as they attempt to seek better for themselves in the future.
2/5/2018 06:17:31 pm
In the novel The Road, the man and the boy are on a journey that symbolizes hope for a better life. The man and the boy’s world currently consist of carnage and constant fear. They continue to travel and travel walking the same road because they hope to find a place that might end up better than the place they are now. They believe that “better place” is in the south. The man and the boy are pilgrims because they are on a journey to a “sacred place.” This sacred place of theirs can simply just be somewhere that they believe is better than the place they are now. The man is travelling with his boy because he hopes to bring him somewhere better, they are on a pilgrimage to a sacred place, a better place. They unfortunately do not know what really awaits them. That is what makes this a journey of hope. They don’t know what is at the end of their road, but they wish for it to be something good and they pray for it to be something better. They are awaiting better opportunities and better lifestyles. In this sense, the man and the boy fully fit the roles of pilgrims on a sacred journey of hope.
2/5/2018 11:08:31 pm
Hope seems to be what’s motivating them to continue walking along the road. They continue to walk along a road that may guide them to a sacred place or a place that will bring suffering and death. I completely agree with your definition of a sacred place. I believe that everyone has their own opinion on what a sacred place might be. In this situation, the man and the boy’s sacred place may be where they find “good people” and feel safe without having the need to continue their journey along the road. The road seems to be the only way for them to have a better chance at finding their sacred place.
Ursula K. Le Guin
2/20/2018 10:21:46 am
I completely agree with you point that because the boy and the father have no clue what really awaits them in the South, this is how they relate directly to pilgrims and a journey of hope. Much like pilgrims, they let their hope fuel them to keep moving to the South even though in reality they have no idea what awaits for them there. For all they know the South could be exactly the same as where they are now, but the hope that they are carrying drives them and suppresses all of their doubts. Also, by giving the boy a destination the father is able to ease his worries slightly, telling him that once they get to the South it will be okay because it will be warm and maybe there will be life.
2/5/2018 10:51:30 pm
In the novel, it is quite ambiguous because a specific destination is never said. The Man and The boy continue their journey further south without explaining why. The only thing that can be confirmed is that they are in a post apocalyptic world only depending on themselves. On their journey, they encounter horrific people like cannibals and other dangerous people. The symbolic aspect of their journey is that it could represent hope, though there are catastrophic situations that they encounter on the way to their destination. The lack of humanity around them makes their bond stronger as that they only have each other because they have not given up. They only have hope in themselves to trust each other. In the sense they can be seen as pilgrims because they are traveling to seek something better like a safer place or opportunity than where they were staying before, but also because it was the middle of winter and it was freezing so heading down south for warmer climate made sense too. The Man ends up pushing himself so hard to when they finally reached their “destination” that his physical self could not hold up any longer and died. His actions were like a sacrifice because he made the effort to get The Boy to where they wanted to be.
2/6/2018 11:28:50 pm
I like how you mentioned how the boy and the man are getting closer thought the book. I do feel like they have become each other's source of hope. They're meant to stay by each other this whole time. Without the other, immediately bad things would vegin the happen. I also liked how you called out their destination, and how they never reached where they wanted to be. This is important because the fact that the father died before they reached where they wanted to go shows the transfer of roles and power. The boy wanted to die too, but was forced to live on to help spread his love.
2/6/2018 01:36:28 am
In my opinion, the desired destination of the father and son was to find somewhere warmer, safer, and away from the enemies of those with morals. Because of the father carrying- and frequently using- their frayed map, I am confident he intended to reach a destination, particularly the beach. By journeying to find somewhere better, the father speaks of the warmth and blue waves as he remembers them frequently to the boy. Using this destination, they were disappointed when they reached a shivering, rainy climate overlooking a grey, ash-covered ocean. In this sense, the pair’s journey revealed the symbolic significance that the world is ruined from coast to coast; there is no saving it, and all their efforts in repairing it with a new generation would be as useless as Ely predicted. However, I also feel the father's primary goal was to get the son somewhere he could survive; by dying in a place where the son was able to meet people matching the pair's opinions of the dystopian world, he was successful in reaching it. The term pilgrimage refers to a “long journey, especially one undertaken as a quest,” showing the boy and his father to be pilgrims in a quest for safety and an ending to hardship. In addition to this, the man and the boy act as pilgrims by entering every new place they encounter bravely and with intentions to better it; they never steal things that could be treasured to another, and constantly remind one another of morals to remain upheld despite their desperate circumstances.
2/6/2018 08:41:27 am
I agree with your response, especially the part where you mentioned how you believe that the man’s goal was to bring his son to a place where his son would be able to survive. The man and father were traveling to the coast, which is accounted for by the father’s mention of the blue waves and the warmth. I especially liked how you made a point of saying how it did not meet their expectations of what they thought it would be like, which you then attributed to the world being ruined “from coast to coast” by whatever apocalyptic event took place. That wasn’t how I had interpreted it at first, but reading your response changed my own interpretation of the ending.
Ursula K. Le Guin
2/20/2018 10:12:32 am
Throughout the entire story the boy and the father continue to stay in motion, never staying in one place for a long time. At certain points in the story, such as when they find the safe house underground, the audience is left to wonder why they didn’t stay and make a living. For this reason it seems that there is no true destination that the boy and the father are travelling to, but rather that moving is all they have ever known, staying in one place might scare the boy, much like when he got scared visiting the father’s childhood home. They keep moving with the intent of getting to the shore, but it is never clear what the father thinks that getting to the shore will do or if he truly thinks that getting to the shore or if he just wants him and the boy to have some type of goal, something to work towards in the barren and lifeless land that they live in. Without any sort of goal, even the undying determination he has to keep the boy alive may become useless. In this way the boy and the father are very much like pilgrims, because they have no idea if what they are travelling towards will bring them a safe haven, or if it will just be useless. Despite this fact, they still continue to push forward without falter.
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