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Faith Wiater

1st Hour
The Road Socratic Seminar III
World Connection Question: The boy gestured at him with the tin. He looked like
someone trying to feed a vulture broken in the road. (page 163) How does the old man
compare to a vulture? What characteristics do they have in common?
Vultures are commonly known as harsh birds that feast on dead carcusses. In addition,
they are generally bald and walk hunched over, both of these notions similar to the
characteristics of the old man that the man and boy find in the road. It is unknown
exactly what the old man has been eating in order to have survived all this time, so it is
safe to presume that he has eaten human flesh, as most of the survivors of the new
world have. Also, most birds rely on their eyesight for sensing the environment,
however, the old man cannot see very well, so he relies on his other senses, similar to
the vulture. Finally, vultures are very intelligent, and it appears that the old man is as
well, even though the conversation he has with the man is very mysterious and cryptic,
but while this is confusing, it also provides clues that the old man is intelligent. Generally
speaking, it is not a compliment to compare someone to a vulture; it would most likely
be used as an insult. In this case, it is used as somewhat of an insult, as far as the
physical description of the old man, but when you dig deeper the comparison reveals
insight to the old mans mental and personality traits. (Word Count 218)
Universal Theme Question: (Dreams) When he woke again he thought the rain had
stopped. But that wasnt what woke him. Hed been visited in a dream by creatures of a
kind hed never seen before. They did not speak. (Page 153) What does this dream
reveal to the old man about himself?
The man takes from this dream that similarly to the alien creature in his dream, he too is
an alien, but in his case, hes the unknown creature to his son. His son will never know
the world the father knew. He only knows this new world. There is no way for the father
to make his son understand the world he came from, because it doesnt exist anymore.
The world that is supposed to give children hope and let them dream is long gone, and
its even quickly dying out of the heart of the father, and theres nothing he can do to
stop it. I also think the creature represents to the father the unknown. Each day he
wakes up and he never knows what the day will bring, but he is aware that most likely
the day will be unpleasant and possibly bring a whole new round of horror. He knows
theres no such thing as what we consider a good day anymore, and that now, a good
day is one in which they survive til the end of it, but theres no guarantees of that. So in
his dream, he is faced with the alien creatures, or the unknown, and they do not speak,
for they do not need to, because he already knows that they can only bring terror.
Happiness isnt an option anymore. (Word Count 229)

Literary Analysis Question #1: People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I
didnt believe in that. Tomorrow wasnt getting ready for them. It didnt even know they
were there. (Page 168) Why does the author personify the concept of tomorrow and
how does it add significance and depth?
This quote is absolutely beautiful and reveals a truth of the world: no matter how hard
people try to change things or fight the future, fate is sealed and inexorable. People try
so hard sometimes to take matters into their own hands, but things still play out exactly
how they did not want them to. Fate doesnt pick favorites, and bad things still happen
to good people and those that dont deserve it. Similarly, people of the old world were
preparing for this tragedy, thinking that they stood a chance, but it did not matter,
tomorrow, or the future, still got the best of them in the end, whether they prepared or
not. Personification adds a literary depth, and rather than speak of fate or the future, the
author uses the idea of tomorrow to paint the picture that people can try to plan for
tomorrow until theyre blue in the face, but its not going to change anything, tomorrow
will still come and not care about any of their efforts. Everyone is still going to get dealt
a random card of hands no matter how they wish the cards will be played out. This idea
is very deep, and somewhat dark, which adds to the dark tone of the novel. The author
brilliantly takes this idea and puts it into descriptive words in order to catch the readers
attention to make an impression. (Word Count 234)
Literary Analysis Question #2: ...and the noon sky was black as the cellars of hell.
(Page 177)
Why does the author compare the sky to the hell when the sky is the least of their
One of the greatest joys in life is to go outside on a sunny day and see the bright, blue,
clear sky, and soak up the warm sun rays. Even when its incredibly cold outside, blue
skies represent joy, happiness, and hope. But thats gone in this new world. The man
has probably not seen a blue sky in nearly a decade, and the little boy has probably
never seen one. Instead, even at noon, the sky is dead black, and theres nothing there
and nothing ever will be there. Its a constant reminder of their hellish circumstances,
and even on a good day when they find food or shelter or simply just make it through
another day, the dark cold sky overhead is still there to remind them it doesnt matter
how well they did that day, they still live in an awful godless world. Suffering from the
lack of sunlight is an actual psychological disorder; its important for humans to be in the
presence of light for at least a portion of their day in order to avoid becoming depressed,
but that isnt an option for the pair. Light, joy, hope, and happiness are gone; darkness is
all that is left, and that sure sounds like hell to me. (Word Count 243)
Literary Analysis Question #3: On page 196, the author switches from describing the
man and boy to addressing the reader directly: Do you think that your fathers are
watching? That they weigh you in their ledgerbook? Against what? There is no book

and your fathers are dead in the ground. What does the author mean by this and why
does he make it so personal by choosing this to be the only instance the reader is
directly addressed?
It is unclear what the authors intention is here; perhaps this is the mans thought, as he
thinks about his father and how its pointless because hes dead and gone. Or maybe
its the author cutting in himself, pondering the Christian idea that deceased loved ones
are looking down on the ones they leave behind. In this dark of a world though, hes
saying that that notion is pointless; no one is looking out for you, and no one cares
about you, especially not your dead father because hes not in heaven, hes dead and
lifeless somewhere in the ground. This is very powerful for two reasons: the first being
that is is a denial of God - the disbelief in heaven because there must not be a God if
He would allow such a cruel existence to be, therefore there is no heaven. The second
reason being it actively engages the reader and their personal beliefs, by comparing
their own beliefs to the novel by forcing the reader to consider how their faith could hold
up in such a world as the one the boy and man live in. (Word Count 189)