Theme of danger versus safety in the Road by Cormac McCarthy

Theme of danger versus safety in the Road by: Cormac McCarthy
McCarthy uses indirect characterization to show that
the man is worried for the boy knowing that one day the
boy will have to face the dangers of this new world
This is shown when the boy doesnt talk for long periods of time
the man confronts him about it. this shows that the man is
worried about the well being of boy and wants to try and make
the boy as happy as possible.
McCarthy characterizes the man as a teacher, and the boy as a
student throughout the novel. Throughout the novel the man is
teaching the boy what is dangerous, and bad versus what is
safe, and good.
A main example of danger versus safety in the road is the bad guys. the man
convinces the boy that they are the good guys and everything that they encounter
on the road is bad. whether it be bad guys or just something he cant touch, The
boy has trouble distinguishing him and his dad from the bad guys, because they
are not very different.
when the man and the boy are not on the road they are warm
because of the fire, but when they are travelling on the road they
are exposed to the harshness of the weather, they are cold, and
wet which could lead to sickness or death.
McCarthy uses the weather as another treacherous obstacle that
comes along with travelling on the road. He also uses the
weather to give the man and the boy another reason to go south
and reach their goal of making it to the coast.
McCarthy continues the theme of safety and shelter to describe travelling off the
road. this example is What they came to was a cedar wood, the trees dead and
black but still full enough to hold the snow. Beneath each one a precious circle of
dark earth and cedar duff. They settled under a tree and piled the blankets and
coats on the ground.”
throughout the novel McCarthy uses the trees and
the forest to symbolize a sense of safety, or a
bunker to hide from the bad things that travel on the
McCarthy uses horrific imagery to describe a group of people that travel on the road to
show how dangerous they are. this example is “They came shuffling through the ash
casting their hooded heads from side to side. Some of them wearing canister masks. One
in a biohazard suit. Stained and filthy. Slouching along with clubs in their hands, lengths of
pipe. Coughing. Then he heard on the road behind them what sounded like a diesel truck.”
An example of danger on the road is “Something woke him. He turned on his side
and lay listening. He raised his head slowly, the pistol in his hand. He looked down
at the boy and when he looked nback toward the road the first of them were
already coming into view. God, he whispered. He reached and shook the boy,
keeping his eyes on the road.”
McCarthy writes this quote to illustrate the
terrible things that accompany the boy and man
on the road.
McCarthy displays the sense of safety off the road by writing
that the man and his son would “make a run for it” into the
woods and off the road because that is where they could safely
get away from the “bad guys” that could hunt them down.
This shows that the man is aware of the dangers
and he wants to make sure that his son knows what
their danger plan is in case of something
McCarthy uses the imagery of the motorcycle
mirror on the shopping cart to illustrate a sense of
danger that comes along with travelling on the
“ In the knap-sacks were essential things. In case they had to
abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of
the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch
the road behind them”