The boy takes after his father in many ways, but their relationship continues to change throughout the book. The boy displays few character traits of his own, only that he is united to his father by love and necessity. He is completely dependent on his father and defined as a character through their relationship. But as the boy learns more about the world in which he lives, his perspective grows apart from his father’s. It becomes clear that the boy sees a different world than his father does. After all, the boy has no memories of a green earth and no nostalgia for the world that is gone. This causes him to have a different perspective entirely. This difference in perspective is most evident in the boy’s impulse to act charitably towards strangers. He wants to help nearly every person they encounter. The boy offers charity to Ely for nothing, something his father would never do and something that surprises even Ely himself. When the man takes all the possessions of a thief who took all of theirs, the boy is visibly and audibly upset. He feels they have essentially killed the thief. The boy is also fixated on a “little boy” they see along the road. These impulses from the boy show that he wants to help the remaining people of Earth, not run from them, and that the boy has a different idea about what it will take to survive.

As the boy grows more aware of his father’s coming death, he takes a greater interest in their methods of survival. The boy realizes he is the one who will have to care about what happens next. This causes the boy to become more of a man and he begins to take on the role of father in the relationship. As time wears on, and the man becomes sicker, the boy subtly supplants the man as the leader of their party.