In Cormac McCarth's novel The Road, I believe that carrying the fire, while it may refer literally to fire, also may refer to the "keepers of the fire," those who historically were able to survive because they had the means to make or carry fire; the carrying of the fire is a metaphor.
Fire was historically used for many things: the first most important uses would have been to keep warm and keep wild animals away. As people advanced and were more sophisticated, fire not only cooked food, but enabled people to work with natural materials to make weapons, crockery and try new foods.
The true success of early man with regard to fire was not just to be able to collect it and protect it when it occurred naturally, say from a lightning strike, but to use materials that would create fire whenever they wanted it. These were the people that survived, procreated, and moved on to populate new areas.
When I think of fire in this book, I see the father and son as "good guys" (as they call themselves):...
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