We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Road

The Road


by Cormac McCarthy

The Road Sections 1-10 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Section 1

  • The Man wakes up during the night. He's in the woods with The Boy and it's cold.
  • The Man just had a dream in which he and The Boy were wandering in a cave. "Like pilgrims in a fable," they walk deeper and deeper into the cave; in a stone room, they see a black lake (1.1). There's a nasty-looking creature on the other side.

Section 2

  • The Man isn't sure what month it is now. It's winter. He decides to head south.

Section 3

  • The Man looks down at the valley below and the road with a pair of binoculars. He says to himself that The Boy is "his warrant." We're not totally sure, but we think this might mean that The Boy gives The Man reason enough to live and fight for survival.

Section 4

  • The Man fixes a breakfast of cornmeal cakes and syrup for himself and The Boy. He realizes they aren't safe at their campsite. The Boy wakes up.

Section 5

  • They start out on the road with their shopping cart.

Section 6

  • They see a gas station. The Man decides to check it out. A few tools, some trash, but nothing useful. Curiously, The Man picks up the phone at the gas station and calls his father's number.

Section 7

  • The Man decides to go back to the gas station. He empties all the oil bottles out of the trash can, then drains them in a pan. He ends up with half a quart of oil for their lamp.

Section 8

  • The Boy and The Man look through the pair of binoculars at the top of hill and decide that there's nothing to see. It's all ash and charred trees. Also, it's raining.

Section 9

  • They park their cart and hightail it to a rock overhang, where they cozy up with some blankets.

Section 10

  • The rain stops.
  • They go get their blankets and stuff for the night from the shopping cart. After depositing their stuff in the rock overhang and lighting their lamp, they head back to the road. No lights anywhere else.
  • They trudge back up to the overhang to sleep.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...