requesting the aid of english majors or anyone whose a natural in understanding story themes


Senior member
Apr 15, 2000
I'm reading a short story called "on the road"

It's about a colored bum whose looking for a place to stay for the night. He goes to a church and tries to push the door down so he can stay the night, police officers come and try to take him away, in doing so, the bum grabs onto one of the church pilars as the officers try pulling him away. The whole church collapses and the bum comes out from under the church and was happy that he brought the church down because earlier the reverened Mr.DOrset from the parsonage next to the church refused to help him.

As the bum walks in the snow, he noticed that the stone figure of christ which was detached from the cross was walking beside him. Christ was happy that the bum freed him from the cross, christ says "you did a good job, they have kept me nailed on a cross for nearly 2000yrs."

Christ asks the bum where he's going and the bum says "I'm just a bum on the road" where are you going?
"God knows" Christ said "but I'm leaving here".
The bum sees a hobo jungle, as said he can sleep there.
Christ asked "you can?"
the bum says "sure, that place ain't got no doors"
"I'm side tracking" the bum said "I'm tired"
"I'm gonna make it on to Kansas City", said Christ, the 2 then depart. 6:00am in the morning the bum wakes up and sees a train, he jumps on and the nearest cop wacked the bums fingers and says get off, the bum says let me in this car, all the sudden he realizes he's in jail, yelling and shaking the cell door. The guard says shup up, the bum says "you wait, I'm gonna break this door down too"

the short story end with the bum yelling "I'm gonna break down this door" and then thinking to himself "I wonder where christ's gone? I wonder if he's gone to Kansas City?"

What I understand from this story is that the bum got treated unfair at the church because he was black, the church is suppose to be there to help everyone, but it didn't help him, so the stone figure of christ was happy that he was set free by the colored bum and was leaving to a better place, What I don't understand is why kansas? is that the place where christianity started? I'm not religious so I don't understand this part of the story, is there an importance in where the bum said he would side track because he's tired, but christ continued on even though he too was probably tired from being tortured on the cross for 2000yrs? Why does the bum say he'll break down the cell doors like he did with the church doors, is he trying to say he's going to not let anything hold him back?

this is one of my longer posts, hope someone can shine some light on this.


Oct 13, 1999
Yeah, a lot of the intent and analyzable material is in the story itself, not the plot.


Senior member
May 19, 2002
Originally posted by: RayEarth
I'm reading a short story called "on the road"
What I don't understand is why kansas? is that the place where christianity started?
Yeah. That's it. Jesus was a KC native ;)

Seriously though, I doubt Kanas city itself is relevent, the idea there is that God abandonded the church (and the surrounding town) because of their lack of kindness. (Jesus was really big on helping the poor and desperate.)

The bum stopped and Jesus didn't: This could be saying that God dosen't give up.

Turin and Amnesiac are right though, you really can't analyize a story without the actual text.