The Road

Explain the significance of the wallet, and what the man does with it.

Section 5 - pages 49-60

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One day, the father empties his wallet of money, old credit cards, his driver's license, and a photograph of his deceased wife. He throws away the wallet, then lays his wife's picture on the road and leaves. His wife may be on some other path toward her own salvation; they indeed have parted ways. She chose to die, and he chose to live. Yet, when he leaves the photograph behind along with his wallet and his contents, he is admitting a kind of defeat for the old world. He had been keeping these elements of the old world together with him, but now that he has failed to help the burned man, he realizes that he can no longer keep up the idea that there is an old world to hope for. He lost some part of his humanity by not even trying to help, and so now he leaves behind the symbols of his old life, even the photograph of his wife.