by Cormac McCarthy
The Road Sections 271-280 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- They look at the map. The Boy points out that The Man always thinks they're farther along. The Man adjusts his estimate.
- In a strange interlude, The Man reminds himself that no one is watching him, and there's no code to judge him by anyway.
- The trees change "from pine to liveoak and pine. Magnolias" (273.1). They're getting closer to the ocean.
- The next day they see "a thin stem of smoke rising out of the woods ahead" (274.1). The Man says they have to take a look.
- They circle around the campfire. There's nobody there – whoever had a fire going must have run off. The Boy is still scared.
- The Man is checking the perimeter when The Boy sees what's cooking over the fire: "a charred human infant headless and gutted and blackening on the spit" (276.1).
- They camp near a river. The Man hopes it will cheer up The Boy. The Man looks at the map – they're still a ways from the coast.
- The next day they cross a bridge and enter a mill town.
- They notice lots of stuff "scattered by the side of the road. Electrical appliances, furniture. Tools" (279.1). They drink the last of their water.
- The Boy says that if they had the infant it could go with them. The Man agrees. When The Boy asks where they got the infant, he doesn't tell The Boy that he saw the pregnant woman walking down the road three days ago.
- They start to see coastal rivers. The Man sees a dip in the road ahead and tells The Boy there's probably a creek ahead. They'll have to take a chance and drink from it. The Boy runs ahead.
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