McCarthy once said that he doesn't understand novelists who don't "deal with issues of life and death" (source). Well, he certainly practices what he preaches. Death is a constant in The Road. Its thorough inclusion in the novel almost gives it the status of a character. (Some characters in the novel even talk about death as if it were a person.) The constant threat of death – from starvation, exposure, illness, or murder – also makes the everyday stuff in the novel much richer than it otherwise would be. Simple actions like eating, finding clean water, or exchanging a few kind words with another human being suddenly seem quite extraordinary.