What happened to the man's wife?

The man's wife commits suicide before the novel begins.

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The man's wife dies before the start of the novel, committing suicide to escape the brutality of the postapocalyptic world. She believed that, at the very least, she would be a distraction to her husband and son, holding them back from surviving their new inescapable and harsh reality. More importantly,...

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The man's wife dies before the start of the novel, committing suicide to escape the brutality of the postapocalyptic world. She believed that, at the very least, she would be a distraction to her husband and son, holding them back from surviving their new inescapable and harsh reality. More importantly, she became convinced that she and her family would eventually be raped, murdered, and eaten by the lawless hordes roaming the wasteland. Since such barbaric conditions appeared inevitable to her, she came to see their lives as meaningless, ending her journey with a flake of obsidian.

Though the wife has died, her memory lives on in her widowed husband's dreams and thoughts. The two were happily married when the world was a far less dangerous place, but bleak circumstances proved too much for the wife. Suicide becomes an alternative to suffering, allowing the wife to bypass harsh physical conditions and human cruelty. However, the man is her polar philosophical opposite, clinging to life in spite of its hardships and pain. While the wife's perspective is essentially nihilistic and despairing, his point of view emphasizes finding meaning in suffering and perseverance, especially when combined with his love for the child they had together.

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