For all the violence and gore in The Road, there's a beautiful love story at its center. Given a post-apocalyptic setting, you might be imagining tough guys and scantily-clad women. Instead, we get a surprisingly tender story about a father and son. In the novel, love survives in the midst of a chaotic, barbaric world. McCarthy also sets some pretty high standards for love: these characters care for each other with a level of self-sacrifice and compassion that we usually only see in saints. Granted, love is mostly limited to the family unit here. But perhaps the isolation of the characters makes love even rarer and more precious.