The star of the
The Road Runner, one of my favorite childhood cartoons, is not the title character but is the inimitable Wile E. Coyote, who on one level represents the age old theme of never giving
up chasing something one can never have; i.e. never giving up on your dreams. Aside from the trenchant if somewhat fanciful analysis of the feature quote section of this page Wile E. Coyote is a Kafkaesque figure who always gets the short end of the stick. He may also be compared to Cervantes'
Don Quixote ; see also
A Tribute to Man of La Mancha.
The literary character most similar to Wile E. Coyote is the mythological strongman Sisyphus (
Myth of Sisyphus,
Sisyphus-other cultures )
whose fate is to forever roll a huge boulder up a hill only to have it roll all the way back down just as he is about to reach the top. Wile E. is always chasing after the Road Runner only to have him slip from his grasp just as he is about to catch him. There is no dialogue in the Road Runner toons but there is an occasional hand held sign by Wile E. Coyote consisting of something on the order of 'Oh no!' when he is about to fall off a cliff.