by Cormac McCarthy
The Road Sections 261-270 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- The Man remembers opening a snake pit with some men when he was about The Boy's age. "The men poured gasoline on them and burned them alive, having no remedy for evil but only for the image of it as they conceived it to be" (261.1). He remembers the men returning home for dinner.
- The Boy wakes up from a bad dream. The Man tells him it's OK, because "[w]hen your dreams are of some world that never was or of some world that never will be and you are happy again then you will have given up" (262.11).
- They set out again. The Man is weak and "more faint of heart than he had been in years" (263.1).
- The landscape is more scorched than usual.
- They start to come upon suitcases and corpses. The Man tries to make sure The Boy doesn't look at all the carnage, but The Boy is "strangely untroubled" (264.9).
- They keep walking through "mummified figures" (265.1).
- More scorched landscape. The Man is "coughing every step of it" (266.1).
- They sit down in the road and eat leftover skilletbread, tuna fish, and some prunes.
- The Man thinks someone is following them. They decide to cross the creek and watch the road from the bluffs.
- It's almost dark by the time they get across the creek. They look for a place to hide the cart.
- They find a place up on the bluff to watch the road. It's sheltered from the wind, and after a little bit The Boy falls asleep.
- The Man sees three men and a pregnant woman cross the bridge – "all of them wretchedlooking beyond description" (269.1).
- In the morning, The Man checks the road and then goes down to get the map, some water, and a tin of fruit from the cart.
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