by Cormac McCarthy
The Road Sections 11-20 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- The Boy has a hard time falling asleep. He asks The Man if they're going to die. The Man says it'll happen "[s]ometime. Not now" (11.4).
- The Man also says that if The Boy died, he would want to die too.
- Still night. The Man listens to wind, water dripping, cold, and silence.
- The Man wakes up before dawn. He coughs for a long time and then curses God.
- They pass through the city. It's not a pretty sight. There's the usual ash and dust plus "[a] corpse in a doorway dried to leather" (14.1). The Man cautions The Boy: "Just remember that the things you put in your head are there forever" (14.1).
- The Man remembers a day he spent on his uncle's farm as a child. Leaves, trees, color, and clear water. It seems perfect compared to what The Man and The Boy endure now: "This was the perfect day of his childhood. This was the day to shape the days upon" (15.1).
- They travel south. It's cold. Everything is ash.
- The Boy colors some fangs on the piece of cloth covering his mouth. The front wheel of the cart is "wonky" (17.1).
- More long, cold nights.
- The Man wakes up to the sound of thunder. He realizes that if they get rained on they'll get sick and die.
- The Man thinks about the complete dark of the night. Some poetic stuff here: "He rose and stood tottering in that cold autistic dark with his arms outheld for balance while the vestibular calculations in his skull cranked out their reckonings" (18.1).
- It starts to snow. The Boy catches a snowflake in his hand "and watched it expire there like the last host of christendom" (20.1). That doesn't sound good.
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