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The Road

The Road


by Cormac McCarthy

The Road Sections 271-280 Summary

How It All Goes Down

Section 271

  • They look at the map. The Boy points out that The Man always thinks they're farther along. The Man adjusts his estimate.

Section 272

  • In a strange interlude, The Man reminds himself that no one is watching him, and there's no code to judge him by anyway.

Section 273

  • The trees change "from pine to liveoak and pine. Magnolias" (273.1). They're getting closer to the ocean.

Section 274

  • 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.

Section 275

  • They circle around the campfire. There's nobody there – whoever had a fire going must have run off. The Boy is still scared.

Section 276

  • 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).

Section 277

  • 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.

Section 278

  • The next day they cross a bridge and enter a mill town.

Section 279

  • 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.

Section 280

  • 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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