How does the wife specifically die in The Road?

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In the film version of Cormac McCarthy's novel, the "wife" played by Charlize Theron, looks intently at her husband (Viggo Mortensen) and speaks clearly: "They're going to rape me. They're going to rape him (meaning their young son). They're going to kill us. And then they're going to eat us."

Her death is not shown. She merely disappears one night. The sound of the riots outside their apartment, and the blurred outlines of explosions and fire, are a backdrop to her husband's realization she has gone. She is shown going out the door, and not looking back. It appears she is going to allow herself to become a victim of the brutality she feared; and perhaps by sacrificing herself she allows a window of opportunity for her son and husband to escape the city and travel to a safer place.

In the novel, there is a sequence where the husband has a dream of his wife and after awakening he thinks, "she died alone somewhere in the dark." The novel also makes it seem that the wife was on the road with them briefly; her last moments are related in one of the flashback sequences which occur throughout the novel. She tells her husband she wants to kill herself and refuses to stay until the boy wakes up in the morning. The husband assumes she uses obsidian to slit her own wrists, as he showed her to do, in case things became desperate. The next morning realizing his mother is not there, the boy merely says, "She's gone, isn't she?" suggesting he may have overheard his parents the night before.

The man also removes his wife's photograph from his wallet and leaves it behind on the roadside; this is symbolic of both honoring her "as she was" (not having to contemplate how she died) but also of wanting to let go of his memories of her, perhaps because they are too painful—or too easy a distraction from the constant vigilance needed to survive.

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After the unspecified natural disaster destroys society as they know it, the world of the characters in The Road spirals downward until cannibalism and crime is the order of the day.  Our main character, his wife and child have survived up until now, but the wife has grown despondent.  She knows eventually she will be captured, assaulted, and then eaten, and she cannot live with the fear.

Her husband has tried to prepare her for this by teaching her to slit her wrists with obsidian, even teaching her how to do it most effectively so that she can avoid her most feared fate if it comes to that.  Without knowing it, he has taught her how to commit suicide before they are ever captured.  He tries to talk her out of it, but she is adamant, and the man and their son walk away knowing she cannot be convinced not to kill herself.  While the book doesn't detail her death beyond that, it's clear that's what happens.

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