The father has a cough that is continuously getting worse. The cough is a symbol of death in my mind. The father chooses to ignore the signs that death may be closer than it seems by ignoring the cough and acting as if the son cannot hear it. The father pretends that the cough entirely isn’t there. The son on the other hand, sees how the cough is affecting his father. He worries about him and his health when he hears him coughing throughout the day and at night. The son sees that the cough isn’t invisible and it is affecting not only his father’s life, but his own as well.
The thought of death to the father seems unacceptable. The father isn’t going to let anything or anyone get in the way of their survival. Whether it is starvation, freezing cold, or shelter, the man cannot accept death. The son though, seems okay with death. He sometimes feels like they should give up and not worry about food or things of that sort anymore. The thought of death scares the man, while the thought of death seems peaceful to the son. The son and father have difference views on death because of their age difference and difference in beliefs of hope.
As the man and boy travel through the road, they encounter many issues. Whether it is meeting bad people on the road, not being able to start a fire, or having a limited food supply, the two are always on the lookout for what will happen next. The man tries never to show his fear. He never talks about what will happen in they can’t find food or if they run into bad people, because those things signal death. Death is something that they father isn’t willing to let happen, so he avoids it and anything dealing with it.
He never wants to give up and he tries to channel that hope into the boy as well. The boy has a more negative view on their journey down the road. The son doesn’t worry as much about food or shelter. He is much younger and has only known the world post apocalyptic. He has known a world of struggle and hardships. Death is seen as peaceful in his mind. It means no more struggle for food, or water, or any of the other things that they worry about now. They boy always talks to the man about giving up and the dreams that he has about either of them dying.
They dreams are signs of giving up to the man and the father won’t let his son give up on life or their journey. The boy is very young and his outlook on life is somewhat negative because of the hardships he has gone through at such a young age. They boy was born into a corrupt world; he knows nothing besides darkness, death, and life being a constant struggle. The boy’s outlook on life is negative, but being what he has grown up in, I believe it would be hard to be positive. Death is peaceful and it would free him.
He has gone through so much in his life, that I think wanting to be peaceful and worry free is not something that is naive, but admirable. He’s taken this long journey and in the end, he doesn’t know if it’ll be worth it. The man and boy struggle everyday with death, starvation, and freezing cold. Aiming for peace and happiness is not something that should be looked down upon as naive, but rather something that is mature. He has tried his hardest for years and years and at some point, enough can be enough.
The son accepts that not everything in the world can be perfect anymore. Death can be looked at in many ways. It can be seen as peaceful, or scary, a new beginning, or the beginning of the end. It simply depends on the person that is looking at it. In The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, the son and the boy look at death in two very different ways. No matter which way you look at death, it’s something that is inevitable and that is strongly portrayed throughout the novel, The Road.