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The Road

The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

The Road Sections 11-20 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Section 11

  • 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.

Section 12

  • Still night. The Man listens to wind, water dripping, cold, and silence.

Section 13

  • The Man wakes up before dawn. He coughs for a long time and then curses God.

Section 14

  • 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).

Section 15

  • 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).

Section 16

  • They travel south. It's cold. Everything is ash.

Section 17

  • 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.

Section 18

  • The Man wakes up to the sound of thunder. He realizes that if they get rained on they'll get sick and die.

Section 19

  • 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).

Section 20

  • 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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