The man finds the flarepistol in an abandoned boat. He and the boy later shoot it off over the ocean just to see the spectacle, but they have no hope that any “good guys” will see it. The flarepistol thus becomes a symbol of the man and boy’s existential abandonment in the world – not only are they cut off from other kind humans, but it seems as if God himself has turned away from humanity. The boy even suggests that perhaps God could see the flare, but he admits that it would be unlikely. Later the flarepistol becomes a weapon, as the man shoots it at someone who shot him with an arrow. This is also symbolic, as in the post-apocalyptic world of death and grim survival, a flare – a tool of communication and salvation – is transformed into a violent weapon.
The Flarepistol Symbol Timeline in The Road
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Flarepistol appears in The Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.