The Road Sections 291-300 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- The Boy doesn't want to go upstairs. The Man can't convince him that no one is up there, so he goes up by himself.
- They stay in the house for four days. They have plenty of fresh rainwater, food from the pantry, and dead wood to burn in the fireplace. They bathe, and The Man even trims his beard.
- The Man finds new clothes for them.
- The Man looks through the outbuildings for anything useful and finds a wheelbarrow. He fixes its tire, and when the weather clears they leave the house with their new clothes and canned goods in the wheelbarrow.
- When they get to the road, they fetch the shopping cart. Both The Boy and The Man seem in good spirits.
- They're still a long way from the coast. The Man wonders if it's getting darker every day and remembers a light meter he once found.
- The Man's cough is getting worse. Thinking about his own death, he stumbles into this memory: "Like those disinterred dead from his childhood that had been relocated to accommodate a highway. Many had died in a cholera epidemic and they'd been buried in haste in wooden boxes and the boxes were rotting and falling open" (294.1).
- They stop at a gas station/grocery store. The Boy stares for a long time at the mounted deer head in the store. (It's possible he's never seen a deer.)
- They fish out some gasoline from the underground tanks using some string and a tin can.
- They're in open country. It's windy.
- Their food supplies are getting low. On the plus side, the air has changed, so they must be close to the ocean.
- Then suddenly "they came upon it from a turn in the road and they stopped and stood with the salt wind blowing in their hair where they'd lowered the hoods of their coats to listen" (297). The ocean isn't blue – it's gray and desolate. The Boy is disappointed.
- They sit on the beach and look out at the horizon: "Cold. Desolate. Birdless" (298.1). Yep, that about describes it.
- The Boy and The Man sit talking on the beach. The Boy wonders if another boy and man are sitting and talking on the opposite shore. The Boy asks The Man if he can go swimming.
- The Boy runs naked down the beach and jumps into the surf. He's really thin.