Summary and Analysis
Section 9 - A door in the ground" to "Tiny paradise, sleep""
The man digs and finds a door. The boy, remembering what happened when they opened the cellar door at the large house, doesn't want him to open it. So they sit down together and talk about it. The man says they need to try it, that the good guys keep trying things. The boy decides it's okay to try.
The man lifts the door and beneath he finds stairs that descend into a bunker full of canned goods, blankets, cots to sleep on, water, soap, ammunition (but no gun), and various other supplies. The abundance astonishes both the man and the boy, and the boy wonders about the people who made the bunker. He decides they're dead and wants to know if it's okay for them to use their supplies. The man says they'd want them to use their bunker because they were good guys, too.
Over one of their meals, the boy thanks the people who supplied the bunker. The man knows they can't stay here long, that it will be difficult to keep their door in the ground hidden. They heat water and bathe in the house. The man has to come to terms with living. He'd been prepared to die, and now they've found sustenance to keep them going for a bit longer. The bunker is their small paradise in a very brutal world.
This section allows us to see the man and the boy enjoying a brief reprieve from their rigorous journey. The discovery of the bunker itself is very dreamlike, and the man observes that the boy doesn't appear to be able to commit himself to the reality of the bunker and all of its luxuries, wary that he might wake up in the middle of the woods, cold and hungry. The bunker, itself, is yet another reminder of the world that is no more. The boy has never known a world in which he had easy access to such wealth, and the bunker provides them with all of these comforts.
After being so close to death, the man finds it difficult to shift his thoughts back to living, to prepare himself to continue this fight for survival. In many ways, death would be a relief, but — as the man says — the good guys keep trying, and he knows that he must keep himself alive to keep his son alive.
The boy continues to worry about their role as the good guys, making sure that by eating someone else's food and using someone else's bunker that they aren't doing anything wrong. Carrying the fire is of the utmost importance to the boy.