The Road

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An outcast from a commune who steals the man and boy’s cart and supplies while they are exploring the beach. They catch up with him, and the man makes the thief strip off his clothes at gunpoint. Despite the boy’s protests, they then leave the thief shivering in the road with no chance of survival.

The Thief Quotes in The Road

The The Road quotes below are all either spoken by The Thief or refer to The Thief. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Death and Violence Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of The Road published in 2008.
Pages 246-287 Quotes

He was just hungry, Papa. He’s going to die.
He’s going to die anyway.
He’s so scared, Papa.
The man squatted and looked at him. I’m scared, he said. Do you understand? I’m scared.
The boy didn’t answer. He just sat there with his head bowed, sobbing.
You’re not the one who has to worry about everything.
The boy said something but he couldnt understand him. What? he said.
He looked up, his wet and grimy face. Yes I am, he said. I am the one.

Related Characters: The Man (speaker), The Boy (speaker), The Thief
Page Number: 257
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of the novel the Man truly compromises his moral principles for the "greater good" of survival. He and the Boy have their possessions stolen by a Thief. They track him down, and he threatens them with a knife. The Man points his gun at the Thief and forces him to surrender his possessions, including his clothes and shoes. The Boy begins to cry as they walk away from the Thief, pointing out that the Man has surely killed the Thief, since the Thief won't be able to survive for long without food, clothing, shoes.

The conversation between the Boy and his father is interesting because it shows the Boy has become the true moral center of the novel. Even while the Man looks out for his child, he's sacrificed some of his moral principles for the sake of survival. The Boy, then, has the job of guarding the rules of right and wrong ("worrying about everything")--he is the very embodiment of morality. Notice that McCarthy continues to portray the Boy as a godlike figure ("the one").


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The Thief Character Timeline in The Road

The timeline below shows where the character The Thief appears in The Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Pages 246-287
Death and Violence Theme Icon
Survival and Perseverance Theme Icon
...soon he starts coughing and has to slow down. In the evening they overtake the thief, who turns and wields a butcher knife at them. He is an outcast of a... (full context)
Death and Violence Theme Icon
Survival and Perseverance Theme Icon
Faith, Trust, and Doubt Theme Icon
The boy starts crying and begs the man not to kill the thief, but the man tells the thief to take off his clothes and shoes. He makes... (full context)
Death and Violence Theme Icon
Familial Love Theme Icon
Survival and Perseverance Theme Icon
Faith, Trust, and Doubt Theme Icon stop crying, but the boy can’t. The boy begs the man to help the thief, because “he’s so scared.” The man says that he’s scared too, and he’s the one... (full context)