" He unsnapped the throat of his parka and lowered the hood and stood listening. The wind in the dead black stands of hemlock. The empty parking lot at the overlook. The boy stood beside him. Where he'd stood once with his own father in a winter long ago. What is it, Papa? the boy said. Its the gap. This is it." (33)
" Wow, the boy said. He couldn't take his eyes off it. He squatted and scooped up a handful of stones and smelled them and let them fall clattering. Polished round and smooth as marbles or lozenges of stone veined and striped. Black disclets and bits of polished quartz all bright from the mist off the river. The boy walked out and squatted and laved up the dark water..." (38)
This parallel shows the father and his son making two discoveries in the new world they are stuck in. The Cumberland Gap was part of American history and was discovered by some of the first colonies in America. This is ironic because the father and his son are forced to rediscover America after the apocalypse. When the first American colonies came they traveled through woods and rivers to find new land. When the boy and his dad discover the waterfall on page 38 they are amazed at their new discovery. The is a parallel to when they arrived at the Gap because it is two situations where they discover new places in nature in a world that they thought lost everything from its past. Something that is very interesting about this parallel is that people and technology change, but nature always stays the same. The parallel emphasizes the importance of nature in the book and in our world.
.." I had a bad dream. I had this penguin that you wound up and it would waddle and flip its slippers. And we were in that house that we used to live in and it came around the corner but nobody had wound it up and it was really scary." "Then he said: The winder wasn't turning." (36-37)
This section of the story is a contrast with the whole book in general. The child's bad dream represents human nature falling apart. When the penguin was winding and waddling the boy envisioned himself in his old house and there was human civilization. When the penguin stopped waddling it was not alive and therefore it showed a loss of hope for human nature. On page 36 the boy also asks why he had such a scary dream and the father responds by saying he does not know, but to go to sleep. The father has not lost hope and is fighting for survival.
What makes a person want to survive when everything else is gone?
What causes this scary dream to occur at this point in time in the book?