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The Road

The Road


by Cormac McCarthy

The Road Sections 251-260 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Section 251

  • Their food is almost gone and they still haven't made it to the coast.
  • Using the map, The Man figures out they're fifty miles west of where he hoped they were. He shows The Boy where they are on the map and tells him it'll be two or three weeks before they reach the ocean.

Section 252

  • It starts to rain. They travel down a dirt road and spend the night in a shed.
  • The Boy has a bad dream. He tells The Man that in the dream he cried out but The Man didn't wake up. This is not a good sign.

Section 253

  • By morning the rain has stopped.
  • The Man remembers that "[i]n a town in the piedmont [further away from the coast] they'd slept in a place like this and listened to the rain" (253.1). The Man remembers a nearby drugstore and, inside it, "a human head beneath a cakebell" (253.1). The Man tried to make sure The Boy didn't see it, but he did.
  • The Man gets the fire going.

Section 254

  • The Man and The Boy have a conversation about the "other good guys" (254.1). The Man thinks they're still alive, just hiding. He asks if The Boy always believes what he says, and The Boy says he doesn't have much of a choice.

Section 255

  • They walk back to the highway. It's still wet out. That same day, they enter a town and "three men stepped from behind a truck and stood in the road before them" (255.1). The men want to know what's in the shopping cart. The Man takes out the pistol and keeps it aimed at the men while The Boy wheels away the cart. At the top of the hill, The Man can still see them in the road, but later they're gone.

Section 256

  • They hide out in a field and then continue on the road when it's dark. One of the wheels on their shopping cart is squeaking now.
  • When he wakes up the next day, The Man is sick.

Section 257

  • They lie down in the woods. It's not safe to build a fire.
  • The Boy asks The Man if he's going to die, and The Man says he's "going to get better" (257.4).

Section 258

  • The Man has bright dreams in which relatives return. (Not a good sign!)
  • He remembers looking out over the street of a foreign city, papers and books on a table behind him. This is before the disaster. Then he remembers coming across "the charred ruins of a library" (258). The library proves that no one really thought something like the disaster would happen.

Section 259

  • Four days pass. He's still sick.

Section 260

  • The Man gets up and walks to the top of a hill. It's dark and there are no fires in the distance.

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