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Analysis


Symbols, Imagery, Allegory

Highways and interstates (and some minor roads) comprise the setting of this novel. (The characters do stop at a few houses, but these function as pauses in their journey.) The characters spend so...

Setting

McCarthy continually reminds us of the bleakness of the landscape in The Road. You can't go for more than two pages before reading something like this: "Ash fell on the boy. Winter was coming." (We...

POV/Narrative Voice

An omniscient narrator tells the story of The Boy and The Man in The Road, but we'd be short-changing you if we didn't say more. Sure, it's third person – but it's a third person that likes t...

Tone

It's really amazing that McCarthy can combine what's basically a horror tale of wild cannibals with a tender father-son love story. It would take us forever to list all the nasty stuff in this nove...

Style

McCarthy shifts between two styles in The Road. When he's waxing lyrical and getting all worked up about something lost to the world, he tends to bust out the fifty-dollar words, ones you might fin...

What's Up With the Title?

This title practices the KISS rule: Keep It Simple Stupid. No fancy-pants phrases or obscure allusions to W.B. Yeats here. McCarthy simply names the book after the dominant setting: the road. (Comp...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending of the novel is surprisingly hopeful. After 200-odd pages of gore and wandering, and after The Man dies, leaving The Boy all alone, some kind souls take in The Boy. Throughout the whole...
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