Study Guide

The Roadrat in The Road

By Cormac McCarthy

The Roadrat

This is the scary guy who tries to kidnap or kill The Boy. He grabs The Boy and holds a knife to his throat, leading the The Man to suddenly becomes a gunslinger and shoot him square in the forehead.

The Roadrat only makes a brief appearance in the novel, but he's still important. Watching The Man go up against the Roadrat, we start to wonder if our hero is actually a good guy. We start to question his ethics. Is The Man really any different from these men who steal and kill? Is The Boy really a warrant for everything The Man does?

This [The Roadrat] was the first human being other than the boy that he'd spoken to in more than a year. My brother at last. The reptilian calculations in those cold and shifting eyes. The gray and rotting teeth. Claggy with human flesh. Who has made of the world a lie every word. (118.1)

The Roadrat is cast as a possible double for The Man. Certainly The Man seems to be a much better human being, but it's worth noting that we begin to doubt his character through the showdown with The Roadrat.