So I just finished my Higher English course (A levels in England and I don't know what in other countries) having been made study "The Road" rather thoroughly I found myself frequently saying "There's no way Cormac McCarthy thought about all of this while he was writing it." For example: There's a point in "The Road" in which the main characters (a man and his son) are about to go down into a cellar, the father offers his son a choice between holding a lamp or a gun. The boy chooses the lamp and I went on in an essay about how this was symbolic of the boy's peaceful and kind-hearted nature which contrasts with the man who blah blah blah blah blah.... While this could be interpreted symbolically, I don't think McCarthy would've considered that, I feel as if it is just a natural consequence of his characters. So I guess my question is, to what extent do you consider the deep and profound stuff behind your writing? Do you think about the key themes and symbolism and all that business, or do you find that they manifest naturally in your story?