The Road

Themes and Colors
Death and Violence Theme Icon
Familial Love Theme Icon
Survival and Perseverance Theme Icon
Faith, Trust, and Doubt Theme Icon
Dreams and Memory Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Road, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Faith, Trust, and Doubt Theme Icon

In the harsh world of The Road, everything depends on trusting or distrusting each other. On one level, there is a constant tension regarding whether or not the man should trust anyone he meets on the road. Some people are cannibals and rapists, while others will still steal to survive. The boy is more trusting than the man, as he is always trying to help people and give away precious food. This trustingness is part of both the boy’s naiveté and purity – he has a basic faith in humanity that transcends his immediate world of brutality.

Trust also extends to the spiritual level, as in such horrible times people often need a God to blame or believe in. The man feels abandoned by God, but he still talks to God as if he exists, even threatening him. The man’s love for the boy often becomes spiritual as well – he describes the boy in religious terms, as if the boy himself were a god or had some purity about him that was sacred. The boy’s own faith is left nebulous, but after the man’s death he is taken in by a group of “good guys” who talk to him about God. The boy tries to pray, but finds it easier to talk to his father’s spirit. In the end, boy’s love for his father also takes on a spiritual element, and his trust in the man becomes a kind of religious faith.

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Faith, Trust, and Doubt ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Faith, Trust, and Doubt appears in each chapter of The Road. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Faith, Trust, and Doubt Quotes in The Road

Below you will find the important quotes in The Road related to the theme of Faith, Trust, and Doubt.
Pages 1-29 Quotes

He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.

Related Characters: The Man, The Boy
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
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Are you okay? he said. The boy nodded. Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.

Related Characters: The Man (speaker), The Boy
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
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Pages 29-60 Quotes

He said that everything depended on reaching the coast, yet waking in the night he knew that all of this was empty and no substance to it. There was a good chance they would die in the mountains and that would be that.

Related Characters: The Man (speaker)
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
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The one thing I can tell you is that you wont survive for yourself. I know because I would never have come this far. A person who had no one would be well advised to cobble together a passable ghost. Breathe it into being and coax it along with words of love. Offer it each phantom crumb and shield it from harm with your body. As for me my only hope is for eternal nothingness and I hope for it with all my heart.

Related Characters: The Woman (speaker), The Man
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
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Pages 60-91 Quotes

You wanted to know what the bad guys looked like. Now you know. It may happen again. My job is to take care of you. I was appointed to do that by God. I will kill anyone who touches you. Do you understand?
Yes.
He sat there cowled in the blanket. After a while he looked up. Are we still the good guys? he said.
Yes. We’re still the good guys.
And we always will be.
Yes. We always will be.

Related Characters: The Man (speaker), The Boy (speaker)
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
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Pages 91-124 Quotes

Do you think I lie to you?
No.
But you think I might lie to you about dying.
Yes.
Okay. I might. But we’re not dying.
Okay.

Related Characters: The Man (speaker), The Boy (speaker)
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
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Pages 156-189 Quotes

It wouldnt make any difference. When you die it’s the same as if everybody else did too.
I guess God would know it. Is that it?
There is no God.
No?
There is no God and we are his prophets.

Related Characters: The Man (speaker), Ely (speaker)
Page Number: 168
Explanation and Analysis:
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I never thought to see a child again. I didnt know that would happen.
What if I said that he’s a god?
The old man shook his head. I’m past all that now. Have been for years. Where men cant live gods fare no better. You’ll see. It’s better to be alone. So I hope that’s not true what you said because to be on the road with the last god would be a terrible thing so I hope it’s not true. Things will be better when everybody’s gone… When we’re all gone at last then there’ll be nobody here but death and his days will be numbered too. He’ll be out in the road there with nothing to do and nobody to do it to. He’ll say: Where did everybody go? And that’s how it will be. What’s wrong with that?

Related Characters: The Man (speaker), Ely (speaker), The Boy
Related Symbols: The Road
Page Number: 170-171
Explanation and Analysis:
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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:
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You have to carry the fire.
I dont know how to.
Yes you do.
Is it real? The fire?
Yes it is.
Where is it? I dont know where it is.
Yes you do. It’s inside you. It was always there. I can see it.
Just take me with you. Please.
I cant.
Please, Papa.
I cant. I cant hold my son dead in my arms. I thought I could but I cant.

Related Characters: The Man (speaker), The Boy (speaker)
Related Symbols: “Carrying the Fire”
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:
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