Where all was burnt to ash before them no fires were to be had and the nights were long and dark and cold beyond anything they'd yet encountered.To say that The Road is about an imagined situation where the world is taking it's last breath would be oversimplifying it. McCarthy's style is bare of frills and fancies, even allegorical, but his message is clear: it is humanity which is dying. Worse still, it is humanity which has brought upon this self-destruction.
The boy is never named like the man and the other 'presences' in this book (they never evolve into 'characters'). It only goes on to show that in the nightmare that the world has become, names and identities don't matter. What matters is survival. And the boy is of an era where nothing exists. Everything we take for granted is something of a folk tale for him.
Maybe he understood for the first time that to the boy he was himself an alien. A being from a planet that no longer existed. The tales of which were suspect.Even all the principles and thoughts are nothing but a hazy memory:
You won't wish us luck either, will you? the man said.What the survivors are walking towards on the never ending road is not some lost Atlantis, but just the fact that by moving on they will continue living.
I don't know what that would mean. What luck would look like. Who would know such a thing?
The Road is unsettling but that's its purpose. We are all too ready to take our greatest gift from God - Earth - for granted.
Prospective readers be warned, there is no window of hope in this stark novel, except the hope of survival. The only hint of a future is the boy's ability to stay alive.