51 pages 1 hour read

Elizabeth Gray Vining

Adam of the Road

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1942

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Symbols & Motifs

The Road

The road is the most important recurring symbol in the book. It represents home and is connected to the themes of Losing Childlike Innocence and Coming of Age and Searching for a Sense of Home, Belonging, and Fulfillment. At the beginning of the book, Roger speaks the book’s most frequently quoted lines:

“A road’s a kind of holy thing,” Roger went on. “That’s why it’s a good work to keep a road in repair, like giving alms to the poor or tending the sick. It’s open to the sun and wind and rain. It brings all kinds of people and all parts of England together. And it’s home to a minstrel, even though he may happen to be sleeping in a castle” (52).

Roger, a well-traveled minstrel, has a deep understanding of a minstrel’s place of belonging on the road. At the beginning of the book, Adam doesn’t understand this and is daunted by the length and breadth of the road ahead of him (52). When he is separated from his father, Adam remembers that his father said the road is home to a minstrel, but he asks himself, “Which road?” (164). This demonstrates that he doesn’t understand Roger’s definition of home.