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The Road

The Road


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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