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The post- apocalyptic reality of the book highlights that a state of nature is revealed where goodness and honor are not readily evident. Instead, lawlessness and the most savage of behavior are present forces. This setting, "the road," is one in which goodness is absent. To this extent, the father represents one of the last elements of goodness, a type of "fire" that is mentioned that has to be kindled in the son in order for there to be hope of redemption in a setting devoid of it. It is in this void, an absence of "godspoke men," that the boy and father live and seek to exist. In the idea of how these individuals "have taken with them the world," McCarthy is able to bring out how these individuals who have most likely established some level of order and justice in the world are absent. It is in this abyss of leadership where the man sees himself as needing to provide the structure and order of what should be as opposed to what is to his child. In doing so, the relevant implications are that hope for the future exists with the father and must reside with the son resuming what the father begins. Through establishing this, McCarthy develops the fundamental conflict that will drive the novel and provide the basis for its themes of hopeful redemption in a world where condemnation is the norm.
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