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The Road

The Road

by Cormac McCarthy

The Road Sections 161-170 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Section 161

  • It's been five days since they've eaten.
  • Outside a town they come upon "a once grand house sited on a rise above the road" (161.1). The Man thinks they should take a look, but The Boy is scared.

Section 162

  • They walk up the driveway to the house. There are no tracks in the snow. Columns and a lamp hang overhead. The Man imagines the slaves that might have once worked here.
  • The Boy is scared someone is there but The Man doesn't think so and says they've got to find some food.

Section 163

  • The Man takes his pistol out and they start to explore the house. There's a huge pile of clothes and shoes in one corner of a room and some mattresses near the hearth. Not a good sign.

Section 164

  • The ashes are cold in the fireplace. The Man goes into the kitchen and then into the small adjoining pantry.

Section 165

  • There's a door in the floor with a hatch. The Boy is really freaking out. The Man says again that they have to find some food.

Section 166

  • The Man goes out into the backyard to look for a crowbar or something to pry open the hatch. He sees a macabre-looking barbecue pit, but it doesn't register. He finds a spade in the tool shed.

Section 167

  • The Man breaks open the hatch. The Boy is still freaking out but he says he wants to go with The Man.

Section 168

  • When The Man walks down into this cellar-type room, he sees naked people huddled against the wall and a mutilated man on a mattress. There's also a terrible smell. Someone has been keeping these people penned up like animals so they can eat them.
  • They run up the steps and The Man slams the hatch shut.
  • The Boy sees four bearded men and two women coming toward the house. They book it.

Section 169

  • They run out the front door to the road. They cross the road and keep going. They drop to the ground and hide.
  • The Man knows this is the moment: he'll have to kill himself and The Boy if the men and women see them.

Section 170

  • They hide in the leaves and ash. The Boy holds on tightly to The Man's hand. The Man thinks he's going to cough.

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