Father/Son Relationships in ‘the Road’ (by Cormac Mccarthy) and ‘the Walking Dead’ (by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard) : Which Depiction Offers the Most Optimistic Interpretation of Human Nature?

Extended Essay: English Literature (Category 1)Centre Number: 001285Candidate Number: 001285 - 0010Exam Session: May 2016Word Count: 3930 |

Father/son relationships in The Road (by Cormac McCarthy) and The Walking Dead (by Robert Kirkman) : which depiction offers the most optimistic interpretation of human nature?

Marin Magré

Table of Contents

Abstract 3
Introduction 4
The fathers’ protection of their sons as a reflection of the past, and its repercussions on the future 6
The violence of the past and its implication for the future 10
Conclusion 16
Appendices 17
Bibliography 20


Post-apocalyptic fiction depicts worlds where destruction and chaos rule, as a testimony of the failings of the past. This essay is an answer to the question ‘Father/son relationships in ‘The Road’ (by Cormac McCarthy) and ‘The Walking Dead’ (by Robert Kirkman) : which offers the most optimistic interpretation of human nature?’ The essay is divided into two main parts, where each section serves to examine the way the authors of the two works use the father/son relationship to construe the past and foresee the future, therefore passing a judgement on human nature.
Firstly, the essay looks at the protective nature of the fathers and examines how representative it is of the past, comparing how the fathers’ ability to abandon some of their principles in order to conform to the requisites of the new world, allows them to provide protection and a better life for their sons.
Secondly, it examines the violent characters of the fathers, and how it affects their relationship with their sons, showing how the nature of people must change in order to be able to recreate a life in this world.
The conclusion of the essay is that ‘The Road’ offers the least optimistic interpretation of human nature, showing the father’s inability to change the flaws that has led the old world to collapse, and therefore the need to leave that human nature behind to have...