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Paul_Hochman
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Early Reading: Father & Son

[ Edited ]
Given the circumstances of the novel, the father and son have a very unique relationship. How would you characterize them and their interaction with one another?

Message Edited by PaulH on 03-26-200710:51 AM

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bentley
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son - Possible Spoiler - pages 1 -36

They are very caring and loving to each other, they care for each other as much and even more than they care for themselves. They are unselfish and sacrificing with each other and have a very strong bond.

There are many touching scenes at the beginning of the novel: the coca cola scene where the father wants the son to enjoy the drink (possibly the last time he will drink this kind of soft drink); the boy when he told the father that he promised not to do that...when the father gave all of the cocoa to the boy and just drank hot water depriving himself of the cocoa for the boy's sake. The boy so cutely said, "I have to watch you all of the time." If you break little promises, you will break big ones." And the father said he knew but he wouldn't. The two seem connected in their souls. Very touching. It was the only thing in the novel so far that is not cold and dark..their relationship is rich and warm.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son - Possible Spoiler - pages 1 -36

As you get further, Bentley, Let's revisit this. I feel that the relationship changes throughout.
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bentley
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son - Possible Spoiler - pages 1 -36



PaulH wrote:
As you get further, Bentley, Let's revisit this. I feel that the relationship changes throughout.




OK
svd
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svd
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son

Was the father a good teacher?

It seems that the father, in some ways, was teaching the boy to assume that someone you meet is a bad guy. Be wary of others. Don't share your food with people. Don't trust people.

Ultimately, though, the boy learned to be genuinely good, to share, and to trust. So I suppose that the father then had to have been a good teacher.

I would love to hear people help me reconcile this paradox.

SVD
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son



svd wrote:
Was the father a good teacher?

It seems that the father, in some ways, was teaching the boy to assume that someone you meet is a bad guy. Be wary of others. Don't share your food with people. Don't trust people.

Ultimately, though, the boy learned to be genuinely good, to share, and to trust. So I suppose that the father then had to have been a good teacher.

I would love to hear people help me reconcile this paradox.

SVD




Hmmm. Good question, svd. My gut tells me that ultimately the father didn't teach his son these traits. Could he have been innately born with them? Which brings up the idea of divinity. At times, it seemed to me, that the boy transcends mere mortality?
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bentley
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son "Possible Spoiler"


svd wrote:
Was the father a good teacher?

It seems that the father, in some ways, was teaching the boy to assume that someone you meet is a bad guy. Be wary of others. Don't share your food with people. Don't trust people.

Ultimately, though, the boy learned to be genuinely good, to share, and to trust. So I suppose that the father then had to have been a good teacher.

I would love to hear people help me reconcile this paradox.

SVD




I think the father was a good Dad who loved his son more than he loved himself. I think he was a father who wanted the son to survive and he chose that option for his son. All of the love and the selfless acts of the father are ones that the son noticed and respected the father for and he instinctively is learning how to be a father, a good thinking man and how to care for someone you love...all of these things he has learned from this man solely. So I believe the father was a very good Dad.

Was he a good teacher? I believe he was teaching the son to "protect himself" as one would teach a young boy or young girl to be wary of strangers...only these strangers were not law abiding in an already lawless and alien environment lacking humanness and compassion and dignity. The boy did not always act boylike and seemed to be somebody special with spiritual qualities which I cannot see that he got from his mother. However, given the environmental circumstances...maybe the father and mother as we would know them had changed..they had morphed into different people by the time the novel started.

But one thing is for sure..the father kept teaching the boy not to give up.

The father said, "When your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again then you will have given up. Do you understand? And you can't give up. I won't let you." The father instilled into his son the will to go on.
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TammieCorcoran
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son

It seems McCarthy has done a good job so far in showing contrasting feelings and opinions of the adult and the child. The child doesn't seem to be as untrusting of other people as the father. It seems he almost craves the company of the other boy he sees (if he is in fact real). While the father doesn't really want to even run into anyone else for fear of danger.
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)

[ Edited ]

TammieCorcoran wrote:
It seems McCarthy has done a good job so far in showing contrasting feelings and opinions of the adult and the child. The child doesn't seem to be as untrusting of other people as the father. It seems he almost craves the company of the other boy he sees (if he is in fact real). While the father doesn't really want to even run into anyone else for fear of danger.





Certainly we are reminded again and again that the boy trusts and the father doesn't, that the boy wants to share and provide, and the father is cautiously reluctant to do so.

I think that there is a strong point in this contrast. It seems that we are "born" to trust, and learn to mistrust. The innocent naivete is to have no reason to fear others, and we develop to do so. Throughout the novel, the boy's strong desire of companionship and cooperation is squelched by the father's cautious reluctance.

In the end, the man who becomes the boy's new father figure proves to be good and trustworthy. As the reader, I was nervous and anxious reading the last few pages, wondering if the man would take the blankets off of the papa's body and abandon the boy. In essence, I was wondering, "Who will prove to be right, the father or the boy?" Thankfully so that I could sleep, the man proved to be good!

Is McCarthy, telling us then, that the boy's instincts were "right" so-to-speak?

Steve

Message Edited by PaulH on 04-05-200711:08 AM

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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)



svd wrote:

TammieCorcoran wrote:
It seems McCarthy has done a good job so far in showing contrasting feelings and opinions of the adult and the child. The child doesn't seem to be as untrusting of other people as the father. It seems he almost craves the company of the other boy he sees (if he is in fact real). While the father doesn't really want to even run into anyone else for fear of danger.





Certainly we are reminded again and again that the boy trusts and the father doesn't, that the boy wants to share and provide, and the father is cautiously reluctant to do so.

I think that there is a strong point in this contrast. It seems that we are "born" to trust, and learn to mistrust. The innocent naivete is to have no reason to fear others, and we develop to do so. Throughout the novel, the boy's strong desire of companionship and cooperation is squelched by the father's cautious reluctance.

In the end, the man who becomes the boy's new father figure proves to be good and trustworthy. As the reader, I was nervous and anxious reading the last few pages, wondering if the man would take the blankets off of the papa's body and abandon the boy. In essence, I was wondering, "Who will prove to be right, the father or the boy?" Thankfully so that I could sleep, the man proved to be good!

Is McCarthy, telling us then, that the boy's instincts were "right" so-to-speak?

Steve

Message Edited by PaulH on 04-05-200711:08 AM






Hi Steve,

I added a spoiler warning to the message subject line in case some readers haven't finished the book. I think you're right on target with your "born to trust" observation. I had a similar thought. Is the son's humanity linked to his innocence? Is the father's (perceived) lack of humanity linked to his experience?

Paul
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bentley
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)

SPOILER, SPOILER

SVD wrote:

Is McCarthy, telling us then, that the boy's instincts were "right" so-to-speak?

Steve



At the end of the novel on page 281, the father says..."Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again." Though the father was answering the boy's queries about the other little boy that his son thought he saw..he really was trying to make his own son feel better and have hope. He also felt the boy was lucky, the lucky one. Answering your question more specifically, the boy survived because of the Dad..the Dad's instincts brought him and the boy through some of the worst times including when the boy was sick..the father was right to be the Dad and protect his son at all costs and the son was right to see the good in humanity and make some judgement calls (and he learned a great deal of that from his father). I do not think that the father was ever afraid for himself or of dying; he was afraid for his son and leaving him alone; he survived for his son. The man's wife stated that the only thing that stood between the man and death was the son...that he lived for him. Not all of the boy's instincts were correct...but he did seem more willing to trust and give folks a chance unlike his father who was protective. I breathed a sigh of relief as well when the man who came along appeared to be trustworthy and good. The boy was indeed fortunate. I was fearing what was going to happen to the little boy as well..the little boy we had gotten to know in the novel and was happy with the ending in a small way.

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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)



svd wrote:

TammieCorcoran wrote:
It seems McCarthy has done a good job so far in showing contrasting feelings and opinions of the adult and the child. The child doesn't seem to be as untrusting of other people as the father. It seems he almost craves the company of the other boy he sees (if he is in fact real). While the father doesn't really want to even run into anyone else for fear of danger.





Certainly we are reminded again and again that the boy trusts and the father doesn't, that the boy wants to share and provide, and the father is cautiously reluctant to do so.

I think that there is a strong point in this contrast. It seems that we are "born" to trust, and learn to mistrust. The innocent naivete is to have no reason to fear others, and we develop to do so. Throughout the novel, the boy's strong desire of companionship and cooperation is squelched by the father's cautious reluctance.

In the end, the man who becomes the boy's new father figure proves to be good and trustworthy. As the reader, I was nervous and anxious reading the last few pages, wondering if the man would take the blankets off of the papa's body and abandon the boy. In essence, I was wondering, "Who will prove to be right, the father or the boy?" Thankfully so that I could sleep, the man proved to be good!

Is McCarthy, telling us then, that the boy's instincts were "right" so-to-speak?

Steve

Message Edited by PaulH on 04-05-200711:08 AM






SPOILER:
You know, I thought it was interesting that the man and woman showed up just after the boy's father died. I have pondered that ever since I finished the book. Perhaps the boy he saw earlier was his own fear playing tricks on him? But he wasn't going to be alone like we may have suspected as we realized the father's fate. What did you think of how that came about?

Tammie
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LuvReading
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)



bentley wrote:
SPOILER, SPOILER

SVD wrote:

Is McCarthy, telling us then, that the boy's instincts were "right" so-to-speak?

Steve



At the end of the novel on page 281, the father says..."Goodness will find the little boy. It always has. It will again." Though the father was answering the boy's queries about the other little boy that his son thought he saw..he really was trying to make his own son feel better and have hope. He also felt the boy was lucky, the lucky one. Answering your question more specifically, the boy survived because of the Dad..the Dad's instincts brought him and the boy through some of the worst times including when the boy was sick..the father was right to be the Dad and protect his son at all costs and the son was right to see the good in humanity and make some judgement calls (and he learned a great deal of that from his father). I do not think that the father was ever afraid for himself or of dying; he was afraid for his son and leaving him alone; he survived for his son. The man's wife stated that the only thing that stood between the man and death was the son...that he lived for him. Not all of the boy's instincts were correct...but he did seem more willing to trust and give folks a chance unlike his father who was protective. I breathed a sigh of relief as well when the man who came along appeared to be trustworthy and good. The boy was indeed fortunate. I was fearing what was going to happen to the little boy as well..the little boy we had gotten to know in the novel and was happy with the ending in a small way.







"Goodness will find the little boy." That answers the question that I posted a moment ago!
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)

Bentley, that,"Goodness will find the little boy" is a good point here. By this foreshadowing, I suppose the father was not as inappropriately pessimistic as I made him out to be.

Steve
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bentley
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)


svd wrote:
Bentley, that,"Goodness will find the little boy" is a good point here. By this foreshadowing, I suppose the father was not as inappropriately pessimistic as I made him out to be.

Steve




Steve,

In many ways, the father kept going because of the boy to give him a chance at life (whatever that life might hold). That in itself showed that the father like so many other fathers before him wanted the son to have a better chance at life than what befell him. And I think you are right Steve...that "By this foreshadowing, I suppose the father was not as inappropriately pessimistic as I made him out to be".
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son

I was curious about the arrival of the "good people" in the end in such a timely manner. How is it that the only time they encountered a good man would be on the same day the man dies?

The man that approaches the boy had been watching them. I wonder for how long. ? They always felt like they were being watched. Could it be the stray boy's family the boy saw run by the house? Had they been following the man and the boy all along? What do you all think about that?
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bentley
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son


solittletime wrote:
I was curious about the arrival of the "good people" in the end in such a timely manner. How is it that the only time they encountered a good man would be on the same day the man dies?

The man that approaches the boy had been watching them. I wonder for how long. ? They always felt like they were being watched. Could it be the stray boy's family the boy saw run by the house? Had they been following the man and the boy all along? What do you all think about that?




I suspect that the boy did in fact spot the little boy of the good man at the end. I am not sure who was following whom....it seems that many folks were afraid of each other and weren't sure of anyone's intentions. They probably assumed that the boy's father might not last much longer given his condition. Maybe they thought that the boy's father was resourceful and headed in the right direction (south..where it is warmer). Maybe it was meant to be that the boy would find a benefactor so that he would be safe and he had waited three days after the father died. I wondered if the number three had any significance either. It seemed to me that McCarthy was very pointed in his imagery and symbolism. But the clues are fuzzy so you cannot be too sure what McCarthy's intentions are. My take was that the boy obviously had some spiritual qualities. I thought it was also fortuitous that the man and his wife had both a boy and a little girl.
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)

I find what the boy trusts (in) most intriguing. He no longer trusts the places you and I would find great solace, houses for example. He trusts that at least one other human being wants companionship at some level, and he feels it is most likely to be found with another child.

The father appears not to trust anyone. His priority is keeping 2 bodies alive. The boy understands this at some level but also has an intense interest in keeping the soul alive. That the boy believes companionship is possible with anyone besides his father is truly remarkable given that most other people see him as food. Numerous times the boy acts in ways that could potentially end his life to find another good person.

The world McCarthy creates seems to be comprised of so much bad compared to good it is difficult to sift through it all and find hope.

I too was anxious about reading the last 10 pages of the book.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)



PaulFrancis wrote:
I find what the boy trusts (in) most intriguing. He no longer trusts the places you and I would find great solace, houses for example. He trusts that at least one other human being wants companionship at some level, and he feels it is most likely to be found with another child.

The father appears not to trust anyone. His priority is keeping 2 bodies alive. The boy understands this at some level but also has an intense interest in keeping the soul alive. That the boy believes companionship is possible with anyone besides his father is truly remarkable given that most other people see him as food. Numerous times the boy acts in ways that could potentially end his life to find another good person.

The world McCarthy creates seems to be comprised of so much bad compared to good it is difficult to sift through it all and find hope.

I too was anxious about reading the last 10 pages of the book.




And to think many people view The Road as McCarthy's most hopeful novel!
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bentley
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Re: Early Reading: Father & Son (SPOILER WARNING)



PaulH wrote:


PaulFrancis wrote:
I find what the boy trusts (in) most intriguing. He no longer trusts the places you and I would find great solace, houses for example. He trusts that at least one other human being wants companionship at some level, and he feels it is most likely to be found with another child.

The father appears not to trust anyone. His priority is keeping 2 bodies alive. The boy understands this at some level but also has an intense interest in keeping the soul alive. That the boy believes companionship is possible with anyone besides his father is truly remarkable given that most other people see him as food. Numerous times the boy acts in ways that could potentially end his life to find another good person.

The world McCarthy creates seems to be comprised of so much bad compared to good it is difficult to sift through it all and find hope.

I too was anxious about reading the last 10 pages of the book.




And to think many people view The Road as McCarthy's most hopeful novel!




It is most likely if you are comparing it to Blood Meridian.
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