Which quotations in the early chapters of The Road by Cormac McCarthy create conflict within the story?

Quotations in the early chapters of The Road that create conflict within the story include quotations that inform the reader about the man vs. nature theme, such as "there'd be no surviving another winter here."

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Cormac McCarthy's book The Road has a variety of internal and external conflicts. Conflict exists between the man and other survivors scraping for an existence. There is a conflict of man vs. nature as the man and his son struggle to find food, water, and shelter, and there is an internal conflict that wages in the man that is focused on his role as a protector and father.

For this particular question, because it limits an answer to the early parts of the book, I would focus on external conflicts that focus on man vs. man or man vs. nature. Readers simply haven't been exposed enough to the man and the boy to really recognize the internal conflicts happening there. The second paragraph of the book has the following sentences, which describe the current location of the man and the boy.

Barren, silent, godless. He thought the month was October but he wasn't sure. He hadn't kept a calendar for years. They were moving south. There'd be no surviving another winter here.

Readers do not yet know that the world has essentially ended, but this quote makes it clear that the man is in a hostile environment where food and shelter are critical for survival through winter, and the quote lets us know that the area has neither.

A few paragraphs later, readers get the following sentence.

He spread the small tarp they used for a table on the ground and laid everything out and he took the pistol from his belt and laid it on the cloth and then he just sat watching the boy sleep.

The most important detail in this sentence in terms of conflict for the story is the detail about the pistol. It tells readers more about the danger that exists around the man. We know his journey is or will be dangerous because of the inclusion of the pistol. It is an example of "Chekhov's gun." The inclusion is important because the item will be important later on. Raiders of the Lost Ark with Indiana Jones did the same thing when the camera specifically showed audiences that he was packing a pistol before going to search for the Ark of the Covenant.

Finally, some quotes show clearly that conflict surrounds the man:

This was not a safe place.

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