Much of the interest in The Road lies in the startling imagery chronicling the main characters’ exploration of the world they find themselves in. For the father and son are new American explorers, charting a new world founded on the ashes of our America. In one of the novel’s deep ironies, they reverse the westering direction of American exploration, heading instead for the eastern shore and for death. On their journey, they perform the artist-explorer’s essential act: that of taking a look—to discover what is life-sustaining or of interest in this alien terrain. Disappointed pilgrims, they find no new Eden, no earthly paradise, and the father sometimes retreats in memory and dream to the lost antecedent world to recover a more nurturing landscape. Unlike the artist/explorers of the American west, they leave no record of what they discover, but it is etched within their minds, and landscape representation plays a prominent role in this work both as content and as one of the man’s consistent acts of consciousness. McCarthy represents the land almost entirely through the man’s gaze, and his vision tells us as much about his state of mind and spirit as it does about the ravaged land. Indeed, as is often the case with McCarthy’s handling of imagery and indirect discourse, the landscapes represented in the book comprise one of our richest means of access to the inner life of the main character.