In McCarthy's novel, the road itself can be interpreted as either a hopeful and life-affirming symbol or a dark, nihilistic symbol. The ambiguity surrounding the meaning of the main characters' journey is central to the sense of fear that pervades the novel.
An optimistic reader could interpret the road as symbolic of the strength of the human spirit. The road is one of the only things to survive the apocalyptic event, and the main characters' journey down this road continues throughout the novel despite all the setbacks and pain they experience. In fact, all the survivors in the country are drawn to this road and move up and down its length, continuing to exist as best they can even though most of the world has been destroyed. The perseverance it takes to travel the road day after day, hoping for something better at its end, is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.
However, the road can also be seen as a symbol of the pointlessness of human beings' struggle to make their...
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