"They went on. The boy was crying. He kept looking back" (50).
"The boy would not stop crying and he would not stop looking back" (85).
Explanation: The boy is scared, but he wants to help. On page 50, he sees a man fall to his death because he was struck by lightening. He wants to help him and go back and do everything he can. On page 85, he believes he saw a little boy behind a house. He wants to go back and help the little boy because he was alone. He wants to get him to walk with him and his father. When his father says he cannot help these people, he cries and cries and keeps looking back. He looks back to see how much further away he is getting from these hurt and lonesome people. It is interesting that in this harsh time a young boy is so willing to help everyone. He wants to, and it is important to recognize because it is a big part of his personality.
"The boy didn't answer. You have to talk to me. Okay" (77).
"He tried to think of something to say but he could not" (88).
Explanation: Throughout the journey, the boy has gotten very tired. Aside from the fact that he is emaciated, he is absolutely exhausted and he does not talk much anymore. On page 77, the father finally tells him to please talk to him because he is worried about him. The son is all the father has and he wants to make sure that he is okay. He wants the boy to continue talking to him because he has talked to the boy the whole time. Then on page 88, the father was out of words to say. The exhaustion hit him and he was at a loss of words and felt dull and numb. It contrasts what he said earlier because he is now doing what he told the boy not to do. The journey is getting harder and harder and they have to pull through and stay strong.
- What is the building they found? Does anyone live there? Is it dangerous? What does it suggest about the progress of their journey?
- Will the son try to find the little boy? Who is he? Is he a hallucination?
"Behind them came wagons drawn by slaves in harness and piled with goods of war..." (92).
"Chattel slaves had once trod those boards bearing food and drink on silver trays" (106).
Explanation: Throughout the entire book, we get notions of a theme of the past vs. the present. McCarthy adds many different ideas and thoughts about the past to his novel. Whether it is of the idea of greek mythogy, or here, he adds ideas about slaves. It makes us wonder if history is repeating itself in the book. McCarthy makes it clear that the world is going back to how it was hundreds of years ago. It is an interesting theme that he adds. It comes up many different times giving the book a different twist than most novels.
"He came up with a longhandled spade and hefted it in his hand. Come on, he said" (109).
"For the love of God will you come on, his hissed" (111).
Explanation: First the father is telling his son to follow him like nothing dangerous is going to happen. The dad is worried, but not that worried that their life is in danger. On the other hand, the boy is really scared, sensing that something bad will happen. After they open up the latch, they see many dead or emaciated bodies. These people are going to go after them and they want their help because they are going to get killed. Then on page 111, the dad becomes terrified knowing that him and his son have to run. They are in great danger and it is a complete personality shift, even in two pages.
- Does the dad keep hallucinating?
- Are these people in the basement real? Are they hallucinations? Who are they?
"Because we're carrying the fire. Yes. Because we're carrying the fire" (83).
"And we're carrying the fire. And we're carrying the fire. Yes" (129).
Explanation: This is one of my favorite lines in the entire book. It almost makes me happy. This line is important that it is repeated because to me it means that they have hope, and that they are carrying themselves to the south. They are carrying survival and hope. It is important that they keep going and they have each other and that is the only reason that they do not want to die right now. They are carrying each other's light and having hope to survive.
"He had to concentrate to stifle the cough and at the same time he was trying to listen" (112).
"He was coughing and it got worse and it woke the child" (125).
Explanation: For a long time, the father would try to keep himself from coughing. In my opinion, he did not want to scare the boy by him being sick, but I am not really sure why he did not cough when he had to. Finally on page 125, he coughed, and he coughed very loudly. It's significant because their condition is getting worse and they are coming closer and closer to death. They were well off with food and sleep at the beginning of their voyage and now they are in danger. The dad coughing just shows their danger and how they may not survive.
- What is the significance of the father coughing or not? What doe it say about him?
- Will they continue to be lucky and find food? like the apples?
"Blessed. He began to believe they had a chance" (114).
"This is what the good guys do. They keep trying. They dont give up" (137).
Explanation: Through the dangers of the journey, the father somehow remained positive. He always looked ahead of them into the light and really did not want to believe that they are going to die. He believes that they have a chance and that they cannot give up. On page 137, they find a house and he is telling his son that everything is going to be okay and that maybe with this house, they will get lucky. Sure enough, they did not give up and they got very lucky with finding food and shelter with the house they found in this next section. It is repeated how they do not want to give up because the father has always had hope and always will have hope.
"We've got to eat" (108).
"Crate upon crate of canned goods... What would you like for supper?" (138 & 140).
Explanation: The father and his son were blessed by God. They were able to find enough food to last them a very long time. On page 108, the boys are walking along the road starving. They had not had any food or sleep in days and they are beginning to think that that was the end of them. They were starving and did not know what to do. On page 138 in this new house they see, they find a fully stocked kitchen with many canned foods and a stove for them to cook. They are overjoyed and it is so nice to see how they have gained back their hope. I believe that the father thinks they are now going to survive and that they will make it down to the south.
- Whose house is this, with all of the food?
- Did God give them this food?
- Is it real? We have talked about the idea of dreams vs. reality in the story, is this a dream or is it reality?