The Road

Section 13 - pages 156-167 q 11

What is the significance of the old Man’s name?

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Various clues point to the conclusion that the character of Ely, the only named figure in The Road (though he claims this is not his true name), is an allusion to Elijah the prophet. In biblical references, Elijah signifies the coming of the Messiah, the savior who will bring people out of their suffering. In the novel, this figure could be the boy, although Ely denies that the boy could be a god. Maybe Ely chose the name because of its similarity to “Elijah.” Also, Elijah is first introduced in the Bible in 1 Kings 17:1. In The Road, when some part or the major part of the catastrophe occurs, the man notices that all of the clocks have stopped at 1:17. Perhaps this is another allusion to the Bible and the figure of Elijah, letting us entertain the interpretation of the mysterious Ely on the road as a prophet, much like other traditional prophet-like old men.