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by Cormac McCarthy
The Road Sections 71-80 Summary How It All Goes Down
Section 71 The Man decides they have to leave: the waterfall might attract other people, and it's getting colder every day. The Boy, who likes the waterfall, doesn't want to leave. They take a look at the map. They'll follow the state roads east. (Tellingly, the word "state" doesn't mean anything to The Boy.) Section 72 The come across "a tractor-trailer jackknifed sideways across" a bridge (72.1). Section 73 Through the bridge's ironwork they can see the rapids below them. Section 74 The Man climbs into the truck's cab. There's not much there: an empty glovebox, magazines, damp mattresses. It starts raining. Section 75 They sleep in the cab. The Man asks The Boy what he thinks is in the trailer. The Man figures there's a hatch on top. He climbs up the hood of the truck, over the windshield, and onto the trailer. Section 76 The Man finds "a skylight about a third of the way down the roof" (76.1). He lights a magazine and tosses it into the trailer. The flame illuminates the trailer's contents: "[d]ried and shrunken" human bodies (76.1). Section 77 They camp on a ridge. It storms and The Boy clings to The Man. Section 78 When The Man wakes, it's still dark. He walks along the ridge and sees a smoky haze over the valley. He walks back to camp. He sees the blue "tarp lit from within where the boy had wakened. Sited there in the darkness [. . .] it looked like the pitch of some last venture at the edge of the world" (78.1). Section 79 They keep traveling on the road. There's smoke everywhere from the forest fire. The soft road, where the fire crossed, sucks at their shoes. Section 80 They go ahead and set up camp. (They're waiting for the road to cool since someone could follow their tracks in the tar.) When they return to the "melted roadway," they find a fresh set of tracks (80.1). Someone passed them in the night.
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