by Cormac McCarthy
The Road Sections 191-200 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- They walk through the dark. There's some thunder and it starts to rain. They take out the tarp, but it doesn't provide much cover.
- The Man asks The Boy if he wants to stop. He does.
- They sleep on the wet ground under the tarp. It's a long night.
- By morning, it's stopped raining. The Man wrings out their clothes.
- They eat some apples and drink some water, then head out on the road "like mendicant friars sent forth to find their keep" (193.1).
- It's evening. They're dry now.
- The Boy asks for a fire but The Man dropped his lighter at the house with the cellar full of people. The Boy asks about the people in the house. The Man confirms that they are there to be killed and eaten.
- They pass through a few towns with whited-out billboards.
- They eat the last of their apples by the roadside.
- The Boy asks The Man if they would ever eat anyone. The Man says: "No. No matter what" (195.24). There's some talk about how they're the "good guys" and how they're "carrying the fire" (195.25, 195.27).
- The Man makes a fire by scraping the pliers down a rock.
- They don't eat for three days. The Boy doesn't look too good: "The boy's candlecolored skin was all but translucent. With his great staring eyes he'd the look of an alien" (196.1).
- The Man thinks they might actually die now. Sometimes he sits up watching The Boy and "sob[s] uncontrollably" (197.1). The Man thinks of a dream in which he saw "the boy [. . .] laid out upon a coolingboard" (197.1). He sometimes stays awake to avoid this dream.
- They look through some pretty decrepit houses. One even has a living room "partly burned and open to the sky" (198.1).
- We think The Man is close to heavy-duty despair. Sentences like these sort of give it away: "Darkness implacable. [...]. The crushing black vacuum of the universe [...]. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it" (198.1).
- Outside a town, they rest in the cab of a truck. A sign warns of death, though its letters have almost totally faded. The Boy wishes the little boy he saw was with them (see 131.1-131.12).
- The Man has "rich dreams" he doesn't want to wake from (200.1). He remembers his wife crossing the lawn in a sheer gown. The Man speculates that each time you remember something you do "violence to its origins" (200.1).
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