The man goes unnamed throughout the novel. He is the boy's father, his papa, and believes that he has been entrusted by God to keep the boy safe and to protect him from harm and the evils in the world — even if that means killing him before the bad guys can get to him. He wonders if he has it in him to do harm to his own son, the only source of light in the man's world. He must push himself and his son to extreme measures in order to survive. The connection that the man feels with his son is sacred, almost holy, and throughout the novel the man makes great sacrifices to allow his son to live on and have a future in a world that has gone dim. He shows his son how to carry the fire, first with his help, and then, later, without him.