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The Road

The Road


by Cormac McCarthy

The Veteran

Character Analysis

Like everyone else in the novel, this character doesn't actually have a name. We took the liberty of naming him "The Veteran" because of this description: "A veteran of old skirmishes, bearded, scarred across his cheek and the bone stoven and the one eye wandering" (386.1). He only appears in the last few pages in the book, but he strikes us an illuminating character. After The Man dies, he kindly takes in The Boy and covers The Man's body with a blanket (just like The Boy asked). He doesn't take The Boy's pistol, and he's traveling with his family. Unlike almost all the other people on the road, he actually seems like a decent person – a "good guy."

But he's also scarred and dangerous-looking. He carries a shotgun and a lanyard full of shotgun shells. He brings up some important questions for the novel: is it possible to remain decent amid such savagery? Does The Veteran accomplish this or does he seem like a violent man? Does The Veteran validate The Man's kill-or-be-killed approach?

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