The Road Questions and Answers
by Cormac McCarthy

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Please explain the following dream from the book The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  The Man just had a dream in which he and the Boy were wandering in a cave. Like pilgrims in a fable, they walk deeper and deeper into the cave; in stoneroom, they see a black lake. There's a nasty-looking creature on the other side.

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Nate Currier eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Dreams are largely open to interpretation, and the fact that this dream is embedded into a piece of fiction makes its interpretation even more debatable.

One reading of this dream lies in the core description of the man and his son as “pilgrims.” Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is a very bleak dystopian novel wherein the man and his son encounter all sorts of hideous living nightmares. In a classical sense, pilgrims were seekers of truth and enlightenment, generally in a spiritual or religious sense. In this quote, the pilgrims are wandering in a cave, deeper and deeper, until they come to a black lake. This is the sort of thing one might expect from a classic pilgrim story. The key difference, however, is that on the other side of this cave, there is a nasty-looking creature waiting for them.

The pilgrims in this fable have no light or providence waiting for them. They wander through the darkness, only to encounter more evil. It is an extremely bleak, twisted take on the old-style pilgrim...

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