by Cormac McCarthy
The Road Sections 81-90 Summary
How It All Goes Down
- They catch up to the someone: an old man with a limp.
- They follow the old man at a distance. Finally, he just sits down in the road.
- They pass him and get a good look: one eye is burnt shut and his hair is "a nitty wig of ash upon his blackened skull" (82.1). The Boy wants to know what happened to the old man, and The Man tells him "[h]e's been struck by lightning" (82.2).
- They keep going.
- The Boy starts crying and The Man tells him there's nothing they could have done for the old man.
- They cross a concrete bridge. Then they turn around and come back to the bridge to camp under it for the night.
- The Man remembers that he used to carry his billfold with him. Then one day he spread his driver's license, credit cards, and a picture of his wife on the road and left them there.
- In the morning The Man reassures The Boy that there's nothing they could have done for the old man. The Boy isn't all that talkative.
- The Man has a dream (or remembers a dream?) in which two figures call to someone (The Man?) and then disappear.
- The Man remembers the moment of the disaster. This is the only description McCarthy gives us of the apocalyptic event: "a long shear and then a series of low concussions" (88.1).
- The Man remembers his wife standing in the door as he filled the bathtub up with water.
- The Man remembers waking up in the woods in the early years after the disaster and hearing migratory birds circling overhead.
- The Man has a deck of cards he found in an abandoned house. Sometimes he and The Boy play games The Man either remembers games from his childhood or makes up.
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