Home » Explore the use of setting in the novel ‘the road’

Explore the use of setting in the novel ‘the road’

The Road’ The novel ‘The Road’ opens after great disaster has struck leaving many barren lands and few living beings. Within the first few pages we are introduced to this on-going long road of travel which will supposedly lead them to safety in the south, although the two main characters of this novel – the man and the boy – encounter very low temperatures and scarce necessities (food, water, clothing and shelter) they do not seem to find danger Just yet. We learn that the man tells the boy of two categories of people; the good ones and the bad ones.

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The good ones are the ones who keep trying and stay mortal in the sense that they keep their morals however the bad ones are the people who steal, eat people and do bad to others hence losing their sense of morality. This luck however does change when the ‘bad people’ (known to rape and eat people who they found) find them and the ‘bad’ man tries to kidnap the boy and so the boys father shoots the ‘bad’ man in the head to protect him, they change their course to stay within safe bounds. They do however find some shelter for a few days and food but they are entitled to not staying there as the bad people may find them.

We are only able to experience bright colors and large groups of people through the characters’ dreams/memories such as if someone happens to bruise/bleed as well as through fire or flare guns. The rest of the time we perceive enough else but a grey ash covering the unproductive backdrop. There are two main categories of settings that have been used in this novel; the road and the surroundings in which the two characters – father and son – take shelter from the bad guys in. The use of the road as a setting is seen as very important as it represents the long Journey for both man and boy which will supposedly lead them to safety.

This Journey starts after disaster strikes the land leaving them unaware of whom to place their trust in apart from one another. The man seems to think of the boy as some sort of reason to live, he is clearly devoted to him – we sense this feeling throughout the novel as everything he does is to provide him with a good upbringing and to make him understand how things really work. The setting of disaster helps to bring the two characters closer together as they form a deep bond of trust and love between the two, the way the man portrays his love for his child gives us the impression that he is the ‘superman’ f this storyline.

The Journey taken on the road help to form the physical and emotional bond between both characters as well as any of the ‘good guys’ they meet. The road from the point of view of the boy is a place where a lot of people wander on, he constantly worries about the less fortunate people who are still living after such disaster. On numerous events the road helps to show us the neediness of the boy to have a normal childhood, these events include those of the little boy and the dog that he witnesses – he says to his father that he could’ve played with them and then cries when he realizes it will never happen.

The other category of setting is the places of shelter they encounter and use in order to keep away from the bad people. This setting is seen as significant in the novel as it shows us how the characters survive inside somewhere and they use this advantage to take up anything useful. The advantage of them being able to find an internal shelter is that they stay warm and away from the ash scattered on the roadsides, however they cannot stay long as they can be tracked and so the constant different conditions between indoor and outdoor shelter leads to the sudden illness of the man and then the boy.


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