this is on pages 14-25
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The opening section of The Road quickly captures the dark mood of the novel. The novel’s second sentence already indicates the bleakness of the world these protagonists inhabit: "Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before" (3). Throughout the novel, additional details of the landscape reinforce this bleak image of the protagonists' environment. "The blackness he woke to on those nights was sightless and impenetrable.... No sound but the wind in the bare and blackened trees" (13). The general mood that quickly permeates the book is one of death and desolation, and the plot bears this out.
The father dreams of his dead wife, "out of a green and leafy canopy" (15), in stark contrast to the black and gray ashes which surround them in the daytime. He does not trust his dreams, believing that they are "the call of languor and of death" (15). But even when awake, he continues to think of his wife.
To punctuate this mood, the son asks his father whether they will die; the father believes his dreams are the lure of death. Interestingly, this perception of his dreams is paradoxical, as only in these dreams or reminiscences so far does McCarthy allow for any "life" in his descriptions. The dreams are made vivid and lifelike, in stark contrast to the deathly environment. "He dreamt of a flowering wood where birds flew before them..." (15), or "he'd watched a falcon fall down the long blue wall of the mountain [with its] blowsy plumage in the still autumn air." The birds and falcons, the colors, are now gone. Moreover, the father believes they are symbols of death: "How else would death call you?" (18).