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The Road

The Road


by Cormac McCarthy

The Road Sections 241-250 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Section 241

  • The next day they travel until dark. When The Man tries to turn on their little stove, it doesn't light. The valve is already on and the gas tank is empty.

Section 242

  • They eat a cold supper. The Boy asks how the tank emptied so fast, but The Man tells him it's just already empty. After a while, The Boy figures out that he left the valve on. He tries to apologize, but The Man is really generous and shifts the blame to himself.

Section 243

  • Now they're crossing the coastal plains, "where the secular winds drove them in howling clouds of ash to find shelter where they could. Houses or barns or under the bank of a roadside ditch." (243.1). The Man tells The Boy not to lose heart.

Section 244

  • McCarthy describes a depressing landscape: "Middens of anonymous trash. Farmhouses in the fields scoured of their paint and the clapboards spooned and sprung from the wall-studs" (244.1). A midden, by the way, is a garbage heap.
  • It's late afternoon. It begins to snow.

Section 245

  • The Man wakes up in the morning and The Boy isn't there. The Boy comes running across the fields shouting that there's a train in the woods.

Section 246

  • They cross the fields and enter the woods, and sure enough there's "a diesel electric" train (246.1). The Man says they should just "sit and watch" for a little while (246.1).

Section 247

  • They sit and wait. Nothing moves. The Man gives The Boy the pistol and investigates further. Finally, he motions for The Boy to come with him.

Section 248

  • There's a lot of junk in the train. Suitcases already "rifled [through] long ago" and some paper plates in the club car (248.1).

Section 249

  • They climb up to the engineer's cab. The Man puts The Boy in the engineer's seat and makes "train noises," but he's not sure these will mean anything to The Boy (249.1). The Boy asks if they can go.

Section 250

  • They start to see cairns (piles of rocks used as memorials or landmarks) along the roadside. The Man thinks about the murderous years after the disaster, when the food stores ran out.

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