​THE ROAD: THE QUEST

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  • "At a crossroads they sat in the dusk and he spread out the pieces of the map in the road and studied them. He put his finger down. This is us, he said." (86)



  • "He put a handful of dried raisins in a cloth in his pocket and at noon they sat in the dead grass by the side of the road and ate them. The boy looked at him. That's all there is, isn't it? he said." (85)


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  • "They were moving south. There'd be no surviving another winter here." (4)



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  • "We're going to be okay, aren't we Papa? Yes. We are. And nothing bad is going to happen to us. That's right. Because we're carrying the fire. Yes. Because we're carrying the fire. (83)



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  • "He tried to talk to God but the best thing was to talk to his father and he did talk to him and he didn't forget." (286)



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  • "He watched the boy and he looked out through the trees toward the road. This was not a safe place. They could be seen from the road now it was day." (5)




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  • "But the roads are still there. Yes. For a while. How long a while? I dont know. Maybe quite a while. There's nothing to uproot them so they should be okay for a while." (43)



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Analysis:

In McCarthy’s book, The Road, the quest that these characters take is a major theme. This theme takes place throughout the entire book. The Road is in a post-apocalyptic world where a father and son walk south along a road with many challenges on the way and hope to find a better place once they get there. The title of this book, The Road, is an implicit suggestion of the theme of journey, and what what better archetype than the quest for such a meaningful read. This theme of quest extrapolates itself intricately throughout this novel, this quest to reach the south is a jouney that qualifies in all aspects of the quest criteria. This journey is demostrated with an oscillation of physical and emotional challenges that plague the man and the boy, but bring them together in a closer relationship after every event. The quest is often characterized with certain foundations which are all fufilled in the book with copious examples, below are the significant developments that often occur in quest narratives and especially in this book.


1. The quester’s, who play a huge role in the book, are the father and son. The father plays a remarkable character, keeping the boy safe and sound. He loves him very much and he cares about their safety, shelter, and food supply. He would do anything to keep his son from harm. The boy is very young and tries to just go with the flow and respects his father a lot.

2. A place to go is south towards the coast. The father believes that this place is a safe place to go and thinks that there are some “good people” like themselves there. In the end, the coast is just as worse off as the rest of the world.

3. The stated reason is to keep on going south.

4. The challenges en route are the shortages of food, cannibalism, and keeping away from the “bad guys.”

5. The “Real” Reason is for the father to keep his son safe.

Our media represents our theme tremendously. We have many pictures of a road, freezing temperatures, and fire. These pictures symbolize the very essence of our theme, the quest. The video that we made shows us the terrifying experience of when the father and son have contact with the others, the cannibals. It also shows the different parts of the father and son’s journey, or quest.


Discussion Questions:

1. Was the quest to reach the coast a success?

2. What do you think the most dehibilitating physical or emotional event that occurred throughout the quest on their jouney on the road?

3. Do you think the father would be willing to accept the new individuals as friends and travel with them and the boy? ​ ​