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Darkness symbolizes the world as it has become. The characters look for light as they try to survive. The world has experienced a Holocaust and been affected by a "long shear of light." Everything is dead, and for the humans who survive, well, it's all about surviving.
The main character is never named; the road is hard, and the father needs to instruct his son about what it's going to take when he's left on his own. Groups of men lay in wait; they wait to take what little others have been able to gather, and they wait for food. A lonely traveler just might be breakfast; the young son would be considered a delicacy.
The story is dark. The world is almost dead. There is no vegetation, and there are few sources of food. The opening paragrapg of the story provides its own description; “Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world.”
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