McCarthy doesn't make explicit what kind of catastrophe has ruined the earth and destroyed human civilzation, but what might be suggested by the many descriptions of a scorched landscape covered in ash? What is implied by the father's statement that, "On this road there are no godspoke men. They are gone and I am left and they have taken with them the world,"?
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Answered by jill d #170087
The many descriptions infer some type of nuclear disaster. I have also heard people say that they believe the disaster might have been a super-volcano. None-the-less, the reader is left to decide what they believe for themselves.