The Road Part IV (pages 221-the end)
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?
1/20/2017 03:26:50 pm
Pilgrim: a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. The man and the boy have been literally on their way south to the ocean for warmth. Their journey has also been to a place where the boy could become independent. “He watched him come through the grass and kneel with the cup of water he’d fetched. There was a light all about him,” (277). This quote is significant in two ways. First, the man has gotten to a point where the boy is taking care of the man. Throughout the entire novel, the man has lived for the boy, but now the boy is losing that protector. He, in fact, is actually now taking care of his father in his dying moments. Secondly, this quote is significant because the man has also been teaching him everything, but now it is time for him to carry the fire alone. By saying there was a “light all about him,” it casts an angelic image. Although the man has been taking care of him, the boy has actually been his guiding light and angel. They have reached a point where the boy must become someone else’s angel. Their journey symbolizes the growth of the child, who has on numerous occasions been referenced as a god. The man has come to the end of the road with the boy, and the boy has done all he can for the man. This ending shows that they’ve both sculpted each other to a point where they can part. It is time for the boy to grow with and teach someone else.
Ursula K Le Guin
1/21/2017 11:07:09 pm
I agree when you said that the boy has helped the man throughout his journey and now it's time to help someone else. The man and boy have been through a lot of hardships and they've both learned a lot. The man has come to the end of his road, or journey, and now it's time for his son to start his own with a new family. I wonder how the boy would've felt if the new family didn't find the boy; would the boy be able to survive on his own and spread his godly ways? We will never know.
1/22/2017 09:11:43 pm
I like how you mentioned that the journey symbolizes the growth of the child, but the questioned asked what is the symbolic significance of the journey. You can still use that idea as the symbolic significance of the journey. Throughout the novel the readers do recognize the boy's growth in bravery, logic, and knowledge. The entire journey was a preparation for the boy to survive on his own. However not only was he preparing himself mentally and physically, but he was also going towards somewhere that was better for him, which would make finding recourses a bit easier. I also like the quote you chose because it's another hint of how the boy could be seen as a religious figure because the father sees the enlightenment in him and something of very high value. word count: 134
2/1/2017 06:18:38 pm
I like the point you made about how it is time for the boy to be someone else's angel. I believe that all the training and good deeds the man gave the boy would surely make him the special "angel" to someone else. Also, I agree with the fact that you mentioned the journey was about the growth and transformation of the boy. In the beginning, he was taken care of by the man but now without the man's presence, he has to survive on his own with no help.
1/20/2017 06:27:23 pm
The pilgrims came to America because they wanted religious freedom and that’s what they got. I guess in the sense of this story, the man, the boy, and everyone wanted someone or even something to believe in during their hardships. The only destination that the man and the boy have is to move down south so it may be warmer. Now that I think about it, it would probably be impossible to actually make it down there alive. I believe that the travels that they are taking are to just spend as much time together before they die. They do make an effort to stay alive however, they don’t just give up once they are hunted down. The whole story was to show the journey that a man and a boy are taking and the connection that they have with each other. The father raises his son to be the best that he could possibly be and the boy stays by the father’s side, keeping him sane and making sure that he is alright. The whole story could be put into a situation of your first bike ride. There were many falls, many setbacks and the boy was definitely nervous, but once the father felt that he was ready, he let the boy go, and the boy was able to move along. We saw the boy grow as he experienced what he did, but there is one thing that he never stopped doing, carrying that fire. It made him keep going even though his father had died and this fire will encourage him to keep going and maybe be a positive influence to whoever he meets. (276)
1/22/2017 09:43:16 pm
I love your interpretation of this novel, it really emphasizes the relationship that the man and the boy had rather than just being vessels for some greater theme. And while yes, the religious undertones are there and can be interpreted as such at it’s simplest The Road is about a man, and his son, and them going on a journey to survive and what you’ve said shows this perfectly. Honestly, your take on this novel makes the man’s departure less painful as it doesn’t leave the boy in despair but lets him move on with the memories he and the man formed on the journey. And with the boy being found by the family it all brings a sense of “everything’s going to be all right.”
1/22/2017 11:14:27 pm
I really like your response because I agree that they knew they weren't going to make it down south but their journey as "pilgrims" was just a way to learn and grow from eachother. The man taught the boy many lessons and techniques while the boy kept compassion alive at times where someone was a threat to their being. This journey was the father teaching the boy how to carry the fire so once he dies he would be able to do it on his own, because the entire time the fire was inside the boy because he carried the faith for his father and himself that they would be okay WC 111
1/22/2017 11:18:17 pm
I like how you related The road to a kid’s first bike ride. I agree that their journey is muck like a child’s first back ride. I’m sure it wasn’t a decision that was taken overnight and I’m sure the father was nervous about it. He didn’t know what might happen. Just like when a child first get on that bike they are nervous. They don’t want to fall but they are willing to give it a try because the hope that they might be able to do it is an amazing feeling. The father is willing to try to get the boy to the south because he has hope that something better awaits him there. Sure he might fall but he is willing to keep trying until they get there.
1/25/2017 07:50:44 pm
The way in which you interpreted the novel is very positive and influential outlook. It is very easy to view the novel as a dark and disappointing ending. I believe that most people were hoping that the boy and father make it out alright. At first it doesn’t seem like that this is the case but after reading your view we can see that they possibly have made the goal they had hoped to do. The father is just like any other where he wants to protect his child and make sure he makes it out okay. He has succeeded with that by leaving him with a safe family so they can take care of him. The boy succeeded with keeping his father sane and they did it for each other. It’s like they were never going to the south, it was just an excuse to spend time with one another. 151
Ursula K Le Guin
1/20/2017 10:10:38 pm
A pilgrim is one who sets out on a journey to holy place. However, pilgrims aren't so much focused on the destination as the journey there. The man and the boy are set out to the south in order to live a better life in warmer climate. Through this they face many obstacles with different people in the book. But, the boy somehow shows godly characteristics throughout the entire journey. For example, when the man stole all of the items in their cart and basically "left them for dead". Instantly, the father set out to find the man and steal his items like he did to them. However, the boy believed that his father should return his clothes because he left him to die. The boy thinks that they were put on the earth to help people and not hurt them regardless of what they've done unto them. Their journey fundamentally exhibits a special father-son relationship that, in this case, the son ends up teaching the father more than usual. The son ultimately wants to help people along their journey instead of rearing them from survival. I also feel as if their holy place is the boat because they find many things to help them keep surviving. Even though the father passed away, they still had an interesting and challenging journey, and the son was able to find a new caregiver. It seemed like that was hot reward for being a "good guy".
1/22/2017 05:15:41 pm
I agree with your statement about how the boy portrayed godly actions. The boy was the man's religion. He had so much faith in him to keep moving forward despite what will happen. The man worshipped this boy's innocence and morality and hoped to keep that going. The man always made sure that the boy was right next to him always. Some people say that when you keep the faith, the stronger your relationship with god is. This man kept the boy close, and his relationship only grew stronger with him.
1/22/2017 09:58:11 pm
I agree with what you’ve said about the man and the boy’s relationship. To add on with what you’ve said, I feel like their relationship is one of true care as we see time and time again that the man always makes sure that the boy is safe and will do anything to protect him and to help him survive. To the man, the boy is his only hope to keep going so he tries to keep his hope no matter what. In as sense, I think that the boy is “the fire” as the boy was the man’s hope for the future and no matter what happens, the boy will always carry the fire as he will always have his hope for a better future.
1/22/2017 10:03:43 pm
I agree that the boat could be seen as their holy place. Even though they had no way of knowing it was there, it became a very important thing for them. Because of the boat, they were provided with valuable resources that allowed the man's last few moments to be more comfortable for him than they would've been. It also set up the plot to come to its ending, which I believe was meant to be peaceful yet thought-provoking. As you said, even though he passed away, the journey was still valuable. It allowed them both to grow as individuals, and it prepared the boy the carry the fire independently.
1/22/2017 11:09:19 pm
I agree with you because the boy could have easily adapted to the man's harsh thinking at times but he stayed true to himself and at times was the fatherly figure or the reminder for the dad to maintain his moral ways that he had before. This journey they go on as pilgrims helps the boy learn important strategies to survive and for the man compassion. I also agree with what you said about the new caregiver's being a reward because he stayed true and compassionate so as a reward he will live and continue to carry the fire like the father always taught him. WC 104
1/20/2017 11:21:20 pm
The world pilgrim is defined as a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons; usually as an act of religious devotion. The Road focuses on the man and the boy on their pilgrimage to the South as they strive to “carry the fire” which to me, means that they are carrying the hope of a morally sound world. And for a pilgrimage, it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey and how it helps the pilgrims grow as people. The Road is no different as throughout their journey, the man and the boy strengthen their morality and for the boy specifically, this journey is about him growing up and maturing so that he can accept the fact that the man will die some day and he can fend for himself. Throughout this journey, the man and the boy meet and array of characters all of which test their morality and their conceptions of their own. The man can be seen as the morality of humanity as like most moral humans, he does what is right because it is right and only uses drastic measures when absolutely necessary. The boy, on the other hand, represents a personification of pure compassion as no matter who they come across the boy wants to help and feels like he has to help others whenever he can. For the boy, this journey was for him to learn that it's essential to keep a sense of morality but sometimes that he’s going to have to set aside his morality in order to survive. And with the passing of the man, the boy has to fend himself with the teachings of his father and continue to carry the fire into a better future.
Ursula K Le Guin
1/22/2017 12:49:13 pm
During their journey, I think the man can be seen as the potential bad guy whose morals are corrupt to benefit his survival. We know that most of the extreme measures he takes are for his son, but throughout the journey the son sees them as cruel; especially when they're trying to survive as well. But I believe the son learned a lot from his father and stayed true to his beliefs as well. So much so that I think he will stay true to his morals after his father passes away. The boy is continuously maturing, and should learn how to put his survival first sometimes.
1/22/2017 08:26:53 pm
I like how you compared how both the pilgrims and main characters in the novel revolve around some kind of religious aspect. Also, you went un depth on how the pilgrims purpose were supposed to go somewhere where they would grow as people. The father and son did this by going to the south where they had a better chance of surviving. You can also connect how the pilgrims wanted to keep the fire going as well because keeping the fire means to have hope, strength, and belief to keep going in life. I agree with how the father is the morality of humans because everyone has the conscious and knowledge of knowing whether or not something is right or wrong. We always have that in our minds. word count: 128
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
1/24/2017 11:18:48 pm
I agree with you and your interpretation of what it means to “carry the fire” during the novel. The man and boy definitely did grow as people during their journey and they also grew closer. However, I feel the boy was always mature throughout the novel, the person who changed and accepted the fact that he would die someday was the father since he was getting frequently sick. I like the concept you are talking about “keeping a sense of morality but sometimes having to set it aside in order to survive” because now that I think about it, I understand it is something the boy has never considered but has to learn now that his father has died.
1/22/2017 12:35:49 pm
A pilgrim is someone who travels/wanders, or journey's a sacred place for religious reasons. In the novel, the boy and father could be seen as pilgrims because there were many religious references and allusions and on top of that the two were on a mission to get to the South because that was where it was warmer. In the South the two had a better chance of living a surviving because there was a greater chance of finding food and other resources. The symbol that was significant throughout their journey would be the pistol that the father and son share. On page 278 the father told the son to keep the gun with him at all times before his father passed away. I compare this pistol to their phrase "keep the fire going". This is because they carried the gun throughout the entire journey and the two bullets represented the father and son and how they are compacted together and they're one. However, towards the end of the novel they had to sacrifice one bullet for their safety and this one bullet was a foreshadow of the father sacrificing only himself for the son. The goal was to keep the bullets for as long as possible as well as surviving as long as possible. These bullets are strong just like the father and son and at the end of the novel it was the boy and one bullet left. word count: 240
1/22/2017 05:10:07 pm
I agree about all the religious references and allusions throughout the book. I also really like your "keep the fire going" and your pistol connection. The bullets were meant for the both of them and if anything happened, they would take their lives. The whole point of their journey was to keep surviving and to spend time with each other. The fire inside that was kept was the morality that the boy had. Without the morals and the innocence, the boy wouldn't have been able to keep his father sane and they wouldn't have gotten to where they are now.
1/22/2017 10:38:28 pm
I love your connection between the gun and the father and son. It provides an entirely new perspective. The bullets were for their safety but also represented that they were in it together. If anything occured, neither of them would have the burden of losing the other and being alone. Once that single bullet was left, a decision would eventually have to be made. Either the boy or the man would be left. I think the author chose to keep the boy alive because he represented keeping the fire alive. The man would likely go down an entirely different path without his son's light.
1/22/2017 11:02:43 pm
A pilgrim is a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons. In the Road the boy and the man are on their way south and to a journey that will hopefully bring them a new and better life once they reach their destination. Along their journey they are carrying the fire and the hope that things will get better and this is why they relate to pilgrims because they are carrying and spreading hope at a time when all hope is lost at this point. Their religious reason for going on this journey is to regain their faith that they have lost on this dangerous journey. Every event throughout the book is significant because it emphasizes the bumps in the road they had to encounter in order to grow. Life for example when they meet Eli that is an event that helps them and changes the father's perspective on things. These events are also significant because the boy is on his way to say goodbye to his dying father and he will have to go through all of this alone eventually. This journey isn't just a way to get to safety but also to learn things you didn't know before. Wc 203
1/22/2017 11:32:55 pm
They are carrying the fire because they have hope that things will get better for better for them. They have hope they will get to the south and maybe that they’ll encounter some good guys. But I don’t think they are spreading hope, especially the father. Everyone they met on their journey so far the father’s first attention is to hurt them. Like when they met Eli, had it not been for the boy the father would have not help him, even though he was an old man the father did not trust him. The father thinks that everyone he meets is bad which says he have lost all hope in the good of humanity. The father himself does not think things will get better, so how can he be spreading hope in that case.
1/25/2017 07:51:51 pm
I like the idea that they are carrying the fire for everyone else around them. They are carrying the fire which symbolizes the hope just like the pilgrims would. Throughout the novel, the boy consistently asks his father about if we’re still carrying the fire or not. He even begins to ask if other people around them are carrying the fire, and every time the father says yes. I never thought that the carrying the fire represents the little hope that is left. Mostly in the novel fire represents the bad things that have happened. We read about how fire has destroyed homes, buildings and even people, but now we can see that fire still has good. It is like the old saying every cloud has a silver lining.
2/1/2017 06:27:04 pm
The man and the boy are truly indeed 'spreading hope' at this point in time. I believe strongly that are doing so, which can be seen when the boy tries to reach out to a boy he saw even though he didn't have enough himself. I think the point you made about the fact that going on a pilgrimage was not only for them to arrive at their destination but it also help them grow and regain their faith. Which the boy benefited from a lot.
1/22/2017 11:06:59 pm
The road takes the form of a classic journey story where a father and a son journey across America to get to the south where their chances of surviving will be greater. The father and the son are very much like the pilgrims who had to leave their home and embark on a dangerous journey to America so they can have a better life. The pilgrims did not like how things were in their country and decided that it was time to leave. The mother before taking her own life told the father that they would not survive another harsh winter here, so they had to get to the south. They embarked on a journey with no knowledge of what await for them and the father “knew that he was placing hopes where he’d no reason to”(213). The book The Road could be interpreted as one big symbol for life. Life is a journey with a beginning and an end and lots of surprises, sad moments and happy moments in between. It is like walking on a dark road with no way of knowing what lies ahead. It is filled with both good and bad guys just like the father and the son’s journey. We don’t know what lies ahead but we hope for the best. The father and the son went through some pretty horrible things to get to the south even though they don’t know what’s there but they hoped for the best.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
1/24/2017 11:39:24 pm
I don’t understand why their chances of survival will be greater in the south? Because in the south their can still be people who kill and eat other humans. I feel there is a greater and deeper meaning for the man and boy to head south. I like how you directly compare them to pilgrims and gave an example of how they are alike since many wouldn’t understand without knowing the definition of a pilgrim. I never thought about the book as a symbol for life but now that you mention it, I can definitely see and agree with it.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
1/24/2017 01:12:41 am
The man and the boy are journeying to the south in order to find better life, climate, and freedom. They are also doing so to get away from all the bad people, killings, and cannibalism. The term pilgrim refers to a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons. I believe the man and the boy are pilgrims because in their journey to the south they face many obstacles in which the boy responses to in a very passive and compassionate manner. By the time the father dies I believe he learned more from his son than his son from him. The symbolic significance of their journey is the bond they form as father and son. I believe that is the reason the journey was taken in the first place, to form and strengthen a bond that would not have been created if they stayed in one place. Especially since the father knew one of them would have to die eventually. The bond that they formed allowed them to “carry the fire” until the very end and even then the boy still had a lot of love for his father.
1/26/2017 08:05:12 pm
I agree with you that the father has learned a lot from his son on this journey. One event that showed this to me was when the thief steals their stuff and his father decides to make him pay. He demands everything the thief has, leaving him to die. The boy pleads with his father not to do this, and eventually the man gives the stuff back. This event showed that the father was beginning to lose his fire. However, the boy's morals are strong and he makes his father be nice to the man. Although he had stolen everything from them, the boy teaches his father that it is not right to steal everything from him.
1/25/2017 07:50:00 pm
The true definition of a pilgrim is a person who goes a long distance in order to reach a destination of holy significance. The father and boy could be considered pilgrims throughout this book. Even though they are not specifically seeking religious freedom symbolically they are. In order to have religious freedom one must need to be able to do their own thing and not get judged for what they are doing. Although no one is holding the boy and the father back they are being held back by their surroundings. The two must always be on the lookout to make sure they are going to survive for the next day. They have to keep looking for food and water just to make sure they don’t pass. In this world, i believe that no one would be considered free to do what they want. The boy and father hope to go to the south in order to find this freedom that they seek. They hope that they will get there and finally gain their “religious” freedom. The boy and his father are there for each other throughout the entire book. It is just them for most of it and they become each other’s freedom. With the support of one another they are able to get that freedom no matter what circumstance and where they are. As long as they have each other they will not be pilgrims forever. 238
1/26/2017 08:15:06 pm
Do you believe that in the end of the book they found this freedom? Does the father die free or is he still bound because he has left his son on his own? I feel that they did find freedom in their own ways. The father found it in death. After surviving in this world as long as he possibly could, he dies and is free from the struggles he is faced with. However, leaving his son and betraying his promise must still bind him. I feel that he did his best to prepare his son to survive on his own. Through this knowledge and with luck, the boy finds a new family and will hopefully be able to live the rest of his life free.
1/26/2017 07:58:34 pm
The man and the boy's trip follows the form of a journey novel because throughout the whole novel, they are travelling on the road. Their destination is the South; they are in search of warmer weather because they will die if they spend another winter where they are, they will die. However, I believe that their intended destination is not just the South. They are in search of a better situation, wherever they may find it. They choose the South because they feel there may still be hope for humanity in the warmer weather. They are similar to pilgrims because they are in search for humanity in this post-apocalyptic world. They "carry the fire" on their journey, which was their symbol for keeping their morality. Their pilgrimage to the South was a self-test to see if they were strong enough to continue carrying the fire. They make it without eating or hurting people who don't hurt them, and before the father dies, he tells his son to continue carrying the fire. He doesn't want to see his son give up. Although their hope for the world to rebound may never happen, the boy gets lucky again and meets a family that will take care of him. Carrying the fire leads him to survival in this world.
2/1/2017 06:10:01 pm
The man and the boy I think embarked on the journey due to the disaster that happened which was either a natural disaster like an earthquake or a bombing or any form of damage that happened and through the journey sought to find out who they truly are. The idea of them being pilgrims can be derived from many of the things they do while taking their journey. Since pilgrims are travelers who are on a journey to a holy place or a very important place. In the novel, the man and the boy headed towards the south which could be considered as the ultimate serene and better place because they have the mindset that they would find warmth, comfort and other resources they would need to survive and escape from the destroyed environment they are. Embarking on the journey by foot also contributes to the fact that they are pilgrims. Through some characteristics of for instance the man, he could be a Christian and believes in the significance of pilgrimage which he tries to instill in his son throughout the journey. As a Christian, he might have had the believe that pilgrims make one stronger and the need for good things or solutions to problems do not come in an easy way but through endurance and perseverance which is what most pilgrims have in mind as well because although travelling from afar on foot to a holy place can be very tedious they do it anyway in hopes for the gracious and 'rewarding' benefit or 'gift' they achieve from making it to the 'holy' places.
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