Why did the father and son go to the east coast to find. how do you know they found it or not?
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The father really felt that heading toward the sea was something. THere is no explanation of what that something might be. Perhaps the sea symbolized freedom or at least a way (by boat) to travel even farther away from the hell that they are in. Perhaps the air might not be as toxic or there might be more of a population not out to eat each other. The father feels they have to do something, anything to give his boy a fighting chance to survive.
Oh yes, they do make it to the coast. It seems just as bleak however the novel does end with a hint of optimism.