The Road Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Road

Cormac McCarthy leaves a lot of food for thought in The Road. It takes place during a time when the world, for all intents and purposes, has come close to an end in what appears to have been a nuclear war. The protagonist, a father whose name we do not know, and his ill son, are left to fend for themselves. Initially, it seems as though no one survived the horror, but over time the two come up against others who are just as desperate for survival. Similar to Anne Frank's belief that people are really good at heart, the father also chooses to believe the same. However, as a reader, I wondered if it was more of a hope as opposed to a belief that he wanted to pass on to his son.
Click here to see the rest of this review

The atmosphere is bleak and dreary, the landscape devastated while the father remembers what life had been like before the nuclear war and longs for his son to know that life, even while they are traveling south. It seems to be that they want to go south where it is warmer and one imagines a bright future there, but in their struggle in an attempt to get to that destination they come across a grocery store with its shelves empty, a mansion that at first seems to offer protection but where they find a grim discovery, and a boat, among other things. They are starving and freezing and eventually the father realizes that it is he who is going to succumb but is desperate not to leave his son without giving him the tools for survival.

The story is grim and one cannot but believe that death would be a welcoming escape for the father and son. The story is also unsettlingly believable, but McCarthy provides an ending that offers hope, even though there is doubt in the reader's mind that things will change in a world where wars and hatred will no longer exist, thanks to the human frailties.

Best part of story, including ending: I liked the story since is shows a father's love for his son while I hated the story due to its very depressing nature.

Best scene in story: There were so many unsettling scenes, but I like the one where the father and son see someone in tatters following them. It is so well written and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Opinion about the main character: I liked that the father sacrificed so much to try to give his son hope for a future.

The review of this Book prepared by Carol Hoenig a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Road

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 90%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 10% Tone of book    -   depressing/sad FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   post environmental/nuclear disaster, fighting MadMax gangs Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   20's-30's


Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like The Road

Cormac McCarthy Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian