On the Road

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Dean Moriarty Character Analysis

Having grown up with an alcoholic father and spent time growing up in and out of jail and reform school, Dean comes to New York at the beginning of the novel to learn how to write and be an intellectual. He is the catalyst that sends Sal on the road. Dean is madly enthusiastic about everything, and always willing to have a good time or go on a long trip with friends. He is a womanizer, who falls in love with women all over the country—and marries three (Marylou, Camille, and Inez). His own freedom is of utmost importance to Dean, but his obsession with his own freedom to move around and go on the road means that he neglects his responsibilities as a husband and (eventually) as a father. He abandons all three of his wives at various moments, failing to consider their feelings at all. Sal first idolizes Dean as an interesting madman and a kind of old western hero, and then sees him as a close friend and brother-figure, but by the end of the novel Dean is presented as a lonely, tragic character, almost doomed to wander the road by himself.

Dean Moriarty Quotes in On the Road

The On the Road quotes below are all either spoken by Dean Moriarty or refer to Dean Moriarty. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of On the Road published in 1999.
Part 1, Chapter 1 Quotes

With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see the country, always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he actually was born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Related Symbols: The Road
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

This quote kicks off the lust for travel that pervades the book. From it, we get the sense that Sal fantasizes about traveling but may not have himself possessed the will to make it happen without Dean as a catalyst. This illustrates an important difference between their personalities: Sal is more reflective and passive, whereas Dean is impulsive and makes things happen.

This quote could be said, also, to explain what propels the dynamic of their friendship throughout the book. Sal needs Dean to show him adventures and motivate their wandering lifestyle. Dean seems to need Sal to give their life importance. Dean likes that Sal is a writer and even hopes to write himself, though he can't make himself sit still long enough to do so. So Dean and Sal need each other in a sense, and this cements their bond through the ecstasy and tribulations of the adventures that follow.

The quote also lays the foundations for the ways that their different temperaments lead to the eventual fracture in their friendship in which Dean careens himself into disaster (as his wandering nature suggests he would) and Sal settles into a life of writing, tired but still admiring of his life on the road with Dean.

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In the bar I told Dean, “Hell, man, I know very well you didn’t come to me only to want to become a writer, and after all what do I really know about it except you’ve got to stick to it with the energy of a benny addict.”

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

While in the bar with Dean, Sal – who can, perhaps, be seen as a proxy for Kerouac himself – explains his attitude towards writing. Sal claims that it's tenacity, rather than skill or natural talent, that makes a writer. This is echoed in Kerouac's prose, which is loose, rambling, and only vaguely edited. Sal's attitude seems to be that simply getting the words out is more important than crafting them. His metaphor of writing "with the energy of a benny addict" also shows the world that Sal lives in. Benzedrine, an upper popular in Kerouac's time, was a drug that the counterculture loved to use recreationally.

Rather than being a stuffy or academic writer, it's clear that Sal wants to break with the social norms that govern writing and daily life. While Dean claims to want to learn to write, it seems clear that Dean is not cut out for it. He is someone who lives for experiences themselves, not for representations of those experiences. But Dean admires Sal's art and Sal admires Dean's spirit, so the two bond despite their differences.

Part 2, Chapter 2 Quotes

It was a completely meaningless set of circumstances that made Dean come, and similarly I went off with him for no reason. In New York I had been attending school and romancing around with a girl called Lucille, a beautiful Italian honey-haired darling that I actually wanted to marry. All these years I was looking for the woman I wanted to marry.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

By this time in the book Sal has returned to New York from his travels out West. He seems to have been living a much less countercultural life, spending a year attending school and forming a serious relationship with a woman he wanted to marry. However, this passage shows the flippancy with which he is able to abandon this life, which implies that his attachment to it was never so deep.

This passage is an indication of Sal's ambivalence about wandering and it shows the differences between his values and Dean's. While Dean has casually married and abandoned many women, Sal has never married and it seems that, when he does, he plans to take it seriously. This implies that someday he will look to move on from his life on the road, which is a goal that Dean never claims. As the book moves forward it becomes clearer and clearer that Dean and Sal, while close friends, have profound differences that will eventually take their lives in different directions.

Part 2, Chapter 4 Quotes

Just about that time a strange thing began to haunt me. it was this: I had forgotten something. There was a decision that I was about to make before Dean showed up, and now it was driven clear out of my mind but still hung on the tip of my mind’s tongue. . . . It had to do somewhat with the Shrouded Traveler. Carlo Marx and I once sat down together, knee to knee, in two chairs, facing, and I told him a dream I had about a strange Arabian figure that was pursuing me across the desert; that I tried to avoid; that finally overtook me just before I reached the Protective City. “Who is this?” said Carlo. We pondered it. I proposed it was myself, wearing a shroud. That wasn’t it. . . . Naturally, now that I look back on it, this is only death: death will overtake us before heaven.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Carlo Marx (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Related Symbols: The Shrouded Traveler
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout the book, Sal mostly takes his desire to wander for granted; he rarely attempts to make sense of it or explain it. However, in this moment, it seems important for Sal to investigate why he wanders. He remembers describing a dream to his friend Carlo (one that seems intense enough to have been a vision) of a shrouded traveler pursuing him across the desert. That shrouded traveler is his desire to wander, and the fear implied by this pursuit runs counter to the way travel has been framed in the book up to this point. The characters, so far, have claimed to be running by choice towards freedom, rather than running in fear from something unknown.

The dream gives a more sinister cast to Sal's relentless romanticism of the road. It's important that Sal first thinks the shrouded figure is himself and then realizes it's not – this seems to be an acknowledgement that wandering is not his nature in the way that it is Dean's. He next settles on death to explain the shrouded figure, which seems to imply a fear that without wandering Sal won't be living his life to the fullest. 

Part 2, Chapter 5 Quotes

“I want to know what all this sitting around the house all day is intended to mean. What all this talk is and what you propose to do. Dean, why did you leave Camille and pick up Marylou?” No answer—giggles. “Marylou, why are you traveling around the country like this and what are your womanly intentions concerning the shroud?” Same answer. “Ed Dunkel, why did you abandon your new wife in Tucson and what are you doing here sitting on your big fat ass? Where’s your home? What’s your job?”

Related Characters: Carlo Marx (speaker), Dean Moriarty, Marylou, Camille, Ed Dunkel
Page Number: 120-121
Explanation and Analysis:

Carlo is an important character, since he was first described as being just like Sal and Dean, but his friendship with them frays as his life goes in a different direction. In a sense, Dean represents the reckless and doomed extreme of the counterculture. He is accountable to nobody and has no ambition besides having fun new experiences.

Carlo rejects the same kinds of authority and mainstream culture as Dean, but Carlo is shown to be devoted to his poetry. Of anyone in the book, Carlo is the one who seems most productive; he always has new and interesting poetry to show the others, which implies that he has found a way to balance his lifestyle and his ambition.

Sal seems caught in the middle – he lives Dean's life most of the time, and tries to write sometimes. He's less carefree than Dean, and less productive and responsible than Carlo. While Sal romanticizes Dean throughout the book more than Carlo, this is a moment of reckoning in which Carlo becomes a center of morality. This is not the unexamined morality of mainstream society, but a heartfelt critique coming from a friend and fellow member of the counterculture. This is an important passage in that it challenges the simplistic ideals and reckless lifestyle of its protagonists, making the moral stakes of the book more fraught and complex. 

I could hear Dean, blissful and blabbering and frantically rocking. Only a guy who’s spent five years in jail can go to such maniacal helpless extremes. . . Dean had never seen his mother’s face. Every new girl, every new wife, every new child was an addition to his bleak impoverishment. Where was his father?—old bum Dean Moriarty the Tinsmith, riding freights, working as a scullion in railroad cookshacks, stumbling, down-crashing in wino alley nights, expiring on coal piles, dropping his yellowed teeth one by one in the gutters of the West. Dean had every right to die the sweet deaths of complete love of his Marylou. I didn’t want to interfere, I just wanted to follow.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty, Marylou
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:

Despite Carlo's evisceration of Dean's lifestyle and morality, Sal still seems to worship Dean and want to do everything he can to help him. Instead of holding Dean accountable for his treatment of Marylou, he excuses it by empathizing with Dean's difficulties – his time in jail, his absent mother, his degenerate father. Instead of listening to Carlo's admonishment of Dean's treatment of Marylou, Sal comes to almost the opposite conclusion, deciding that Dean deserves Marylou's love because of his troubled past. This is another instance of Sal viewing women as objects who have importance solely through their relationship to men, as opposed to human beings who have value in themselves.

On the other hand, though, this passage is one of the most intense moments of friendship between Dean and Sal. While Dean has offered to let Sal sleep with Marylou, Sal decides, out of loyalty to Dean, that he can't do it even though he wants to. Sal views this as an act of kindness and empathy towards Dean, which, in a way, it is, despite that Marylou is caught in the middle. 

Part 2, Chapter 6 Quotes

On rails we leaned and looked at the great brown father of waters rolling down from mid-America like the torrent of broken souls—bearing Montana logs and Dakota muds and Iowa vales and things that had drowned in Three Forks, where the secret began in ice. Smoky New Orleans receded on one side; old, sleepy Algiers with its warped woodsides bumped us on the other. Negroes were working in the hot afternoon, stoking the ferry furnaces that burned red and made our tires smell. Dean dug them, hopping up and down in the heat.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

Sal loves to rhapsodize about the American landscape, which is of a piece with his frontier-era ideas about open land being synonymous with freedom. However, something that his romantic frontier-era ideas about the landscape never acknowledged was that the American continent was already settled by American Indians, and to re-populate the West with white settlers was not simply to find freedom in open land, but to violently remove others from their land. In other words, romanticizing the American landscape has always been bound up with erasing the pain of others, particularly minorities.

This is clearly evident in this passage, as Sal's description of natural features of the landscape bleeds seamlessly into a description of African-American laborers; Sal's description indicates that he sees these people as part of the landscape, rather than as people with complex and important lives who have themselves constructed the American landscape as we know it through their labor. Much of Dean and Sal's conception of America is filtered through their own position as middle-class white men. They have a lot of trouble imagining the lives of others who aren't like them.

Part 2, Chapter 9 Quotes

Suddenly Dean was saying good-by. He was bursting to see Camille and find out what had happened. Marylou and I stood dumbly in the street and watched him drive away. “You see what a bastard he is?” said Marylou. “Dean will leave you out in the cold any time it’s in his interest.”

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Marylou (speaker), Dean Moriarty, Camille
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

While Dean and Sal often discredit Marylou's opinions and character, she is able to see something about Dean that Sal can't; he is fundamentally selfish, which is a threat to his and Sal's friendship. Prior to this passage, Sal and Dean and Marylou were all traveling together, but Dean left them on a whim in San Francisco in order to go visit another woman. Sal seems just as surprised by this as Marylou as they watch him drive away, but Marylou is the one who is able to show Sal that this is part of a pattern of behavior for Dean.

The reason Marylou is able to see this aspect of Dean is that, as a woman, Dean treats her with less respect than he treats Sal, and once Sal is in the position of being disrespected by Dean it takes Marylou to make sense of it for him. This passage shows a faultline in the friendship between Dean and Sal; it indicates that the friendship might not be as important to Dean as it is to Sal, and it foreshadows a time in which Dean will seriously let Sal down.

Part 3, Chapter 2 Quotes

I looked at him; my eyes were watering with embarrassment and tears. Still he stared at me. now his eyes were blank and looking through me. It was probably the pivotal point of our friendship when he realized I had actually spend some hours thinking about him and his troubles, and he was trying to place that in his tremendously involved and tormented mental categories.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

This is a pivotal moment in Sal and Dean's friendship, and, because of that, a pivotal moment in the book. Sal has come to find Dean in San Francisco and discovers that Dean's life seems like a mess; he's in trouble with women, his health isn't great, and he seems unhinged. Instead of writing him off or trying to get him help, Sal decides that the best thing to do for Dean is to get him on the road again. This is a role reversal in their friendship, as it is usually Dean who spurs Sal to action. It also points to something sinister about their friendship; they seem to be enablers of each other's worst traits, including their desire to evade all responsibility in their lives.

Despite that Sal's method of helping Dean seems not to be the best one, Dean is deeply moved to realize that Sal has spent time considering his needs and problems. This empathy would seem to be a fundamental function of friendship, and the fact that Dean takes note of this in Sal emphasizes Dean's persistent inability to empathize with others – it just isn't the way he operates. So even though this is presented as being a beautiful moment for the two men's friendship, it spells trouble to come and points to problems from the past.

Part 3, Chapter 11 Quotes

All the cigarette butts, the bottles, the matchbooks, the come and the gone were swept up into this pile. Had they taken me with it, Dean would have never seen me again. He would have had to roam the entire United States and look in every garbage pail from coast to coast before he found me embryonically convoluted among the rubbishes of my life, his life, and the life of everybody concerned and not concerned.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Page Number: 233
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point, Sal and Dean have spent the night in a movie theater in Detroit with a bunch of socially marginal people that Sal and Dean think are sad. Sal imagines being swept up with all the trash left on the floor of the movie theater. His description of this trash echoes, in a sense, his description of the kinds of people in the theater, which points to an implicit fear in Sal that he is becoming one of these sad people instead of achieving his countercultural dreams.

The passage seems to mark a rare moment of near-self-awareness by Sal about the fine line between being a member of a drug-fueled counterculture and being an addict with few ambitions, although he snaps out of it quickly to imagine himself happy in the dustbin with all the rubbish and to say that it is better to be anonymous in the world than famous. This seems to be another case of Sal's willingness to put a positive spin on almost any experience that he perceives as being outside the American mainstream.

Part 4, Chapter 1 Quotes

Whenever spring comes to New York I can’t stand the suggestions of the land that come blowing over the river from New Jersey and I’ve got to go. So I went. For the first time in our lives I said good-by to Dean in New York and left him there.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Related Symbols: The Road
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the book, Sal has stayed in New York a while and made progress on his book, but when Spring comes he feels compelled to hit the road again – this time without Dean. First, this points to the tension Kerouac consistently sets up between writing and experience. Unlike Carlo, Sal never seems able to find a lifestyle that allows him to simultaneously write and have experiences; he is always bouncing back and forth between the two, never seeming fully satisfied either way.

Second, this points to a new dynamic in Sal and Dean's friendship in which Sal does not need Dean to inspire him to travel. This also comes at a moment in which Sal is recognizing Dean's patterns with women – Sal seems able to criticize Dean for the first time and imagine a life without him being the prime motivator. This is by no means an end to their friendship, but an evolution of it in which Sal seems less in awe of Dean and more his equal.

Dean took out other pictures. I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered, stabilized-within-the-photo lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless nightmare road.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Dean and Sal are looking at photographs from their friendship and Sal imagines that their children will one day see these pictures. He is startled to realize that the pictures do not convey the excitement and rebellion that he feels has characterized his and Dean’s lives. He worries, as a result, that his children won’t know how complex and adventurous their lives actually were.

Sal's worries point to several things. While Dean has previously imagined him and Sal growing old together as hoboes, it seems that Sal’s vision of the future is one in which the two of them grow old as reasonably mainstream white male Americans, raising a family in a context in which their children could conceivably not know that their fathers had once been part of the counterculture except through photographs. This suggests, again, Sal’s and Dean’s diverging futures. It also, importantly, acknowledges that appearances are reductive. Sal himself doesn’t explicitly make this leap, but he has spent the whole book judging people (minorities, women, even his white male friends) based on their appearances, and this passage indicates that Sal’s superficial judgments, like the imagined judgments of Sal’s imagined children, could fail to scrape the surface of what is true.

Part 4, Chapter 2 Quotes

Suddenly I had a vision of Dean, a burning shuddering frightful Angel, palpitating toward me across the road, approaching like a cloud, with enormous speed, pursuing me like the Shrouded Traveler on the plain, bearing down on me. I saw his huge face over the plains with the mad, bony purpose and the gleaming eyes; I saw his wings; I saw his old jalopy chariot with thousands of sparking flames shooting out from it; I saw the path it burned over the road; it even made its own road and went over the corn, through cities, destroying bridges, drying rivers. It came like wrath to the West. I knew Dean had gone mad again.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Related Symbols: The Shrouded Traveler
Page Number: 246-247
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Sal (who is in Denver with friends) learns that Dean is on his way to Denver. The news causes Sal to have a vision reminiscent of the one he described to Carlo of the shrouded traveler, except this time the shrouded traveler chasing him across the desert is neither Sal himself nor his fear of death; it is Dean. This is a dark and frightening vision in which Dean is a kind of demon causing Sal to travel based on fear rather than friendship. Sal is generally worshipful of Dean and willing to go along with whatever he says, but his vision here points to an alternate possibility about Sal’s and Dean’s friendship: that it is based on fear in addition to, or even instead of, love.

Throughout the book Sal seems uncertain about the extent to which wandering is part of his nature or simply brought about by Dean’s presence. While the reality seems to lie somewhere in between, this passage suggests that Sal’s wandering impulse is a result of Dean’s presence, and that it is not a good thing.

Part 4, Chapter 5 Quotes

Behind us lay the whole of America and everything Dean and I had previously known about life, and life on the road. We had finally found the magic land at the end of the road and we never dreamed the extent of the magic.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Related Symbols: The Road
Page Number: 264
Explanation and Analysis:

Just as Sal began his journey to the Western United States with romantic and simplistic notions about what he would find there, he and Dean travel to Mexico with the notion that somehow Mexico will provide the magic that America didn’t. Sal seems unable to shift his paradigm for viewing the world. He constantly believes that the vague and romantic reality he craves is out there for him to find, despite the fact that all his traveling has only served to present him with places whose complexity and difficulty disappoint him.

Sal never reassesses his belief that his romantic ideas are true, which points to his preference for his romantic fantasies about the world over a frank assessment of the reality before his eyes. In a sense, it seems that it is this quality (more than any other that he might attribute to a Shrouded Traveler) that propels his wandering.

Part 4, Chapter 6 Quotes

And he was gone. Twelve hours later in my sorrowful fever I finally came to understand that he was gone. . . When I got better I realized what a rat he was, but then I had to understand the impossible complexity of his life, how he had to leave me there, sick, to get on with his wives and woes.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Page Number: 288
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Dean and Sal are in Mexico and Sal is sick. Instead of staying and taking care of his friend, Dean leaves him to go back to New York and see Inez. This is a complicated moment for Sal because, after Dean's departure, he is finally admitting “what a rat” Dean is for being so unreliable and such a bad friend. It’s stunning, in a sense, that it Sal so long to realize Dean's nature, but, on the other hand, for Sal to acknowledge this major fault of Dean’s is a big step forward for Sal’s ability to reckon with the reality of the world rather than retreating into his fantasies about what reality should be.

Nonetheless, Sal fails to hold Dean accountable for this behavior, seemingly chalking it up to fate and “complexity” that Dean always seems to be abandoning people and getting into trouble. This passage points to the morality of the book overall, which seems not to put much stock in the importance of human choice and decency. Sal seems unable to affirm that anyone should have any responsibility to anybody else.

Part 5, Chapter 1 Quotes

So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Dean Moriarty
Related Symbols: The Road
Page Number: 293
Explanation and Analysis:

In this final passage, Sal and Dean have seen one another for the last time, and it is under conflicted circumstances. Sal has found the woman he wants to marry and is close again with a friend who had been previously estranged from him and Dean. Sal seems to be finally assimilating to mainstream society and ready to leave his days on the road behind. When Dean asks to ride with Sal to Penn Station and Sal’s friend refuses, Sal waves goodbye to Dean, symbolically choosing his new life over his old one.

However, in this last poetic passage that seems to be Sal’s attempt to capture the essence of the American continent by describing landscapes and people and the constant road moving through all of it, Dean emerges in the end to tie it all together. This implies that Sal sees Dean as emblematic of America overall, and it also presents Dean as a redemptive figure in the face of death. Despite the fact that Sal has left Dean behind, Sal recognizes that Dean taught him to live and showed him the best and worst of America.

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Dean Moriarty Character Timeline in On the Road

The timeline below shows where the character Dean Moriarty appears in On the Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
Sal Paradise recalls how his “life on the road” began when he met Dean Moriarty, shortly after splitting up with his wife. He had learned of Dean through his... (full context)
America Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Dean arrived in New York City with his new wife Marylou, and Sal paid him a... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
Dean asked Chad King to teach him how to write and Chad told him to ask... (full context)
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Dean and Sal went to get drinks and Sal agreed to let Dean stay with him... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
According to Sal, while out west before coming to New York, Dean had spent “a third of his time in the poolhall, a third in jail, and... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Dean and Carlo hit it off right away and Sal ended up following them as they... (full context)
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
In the spring, many of Sal’s friends—including Dean—took trips out west. Dean, Carlo, and Sal took a picture together before Dean left, and... (full context)
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Sal says that he went after Dean partly because he reminded him of a kind of long-lost brother. He says all his... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...Iowa, but says he was in a hurry to get to Denver, where Carlo Marx, Dean, and Chad King were, as well as other friends. Sal continued hitchhiking, and soon met... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...Chad came and picked Sal up. Sal learned that Chad had stopped being friends with Dean for some reason, and didn’t know where he was. Chad also wasn’t speaking with Carlo... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
...of a dispute between Chad King (and some other friends), on the one hand, and Dean and Carlo on the other. According to Sal, this dispute had “social overtones,” as Dean... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
Dean and Carlo had a basement apartment, where Sal would later spend “many a night that... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Sal continued to wonder where Dean was, until one day he received a call from Carlo Marx. Carlo told him that... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Carlo told Sal that he and Dean were attempting to “communicate with absolute honesty,” while sitting on a bed facing each other,... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Carlo informs Sal of Dean’s schedule: he is with Marylou during the day while Carlo works, then goes to his... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Carlo and Sal went to the house where Dean and Camille were. Carlo knocked on the door, then hid, not wanting Camille to see... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
Sal, Dean, and Carlo took off into the city. The trio went to a house where some... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...a call from Eddie, who happened to be in town and was looking for work. Dean took Sal and Eddie to “the markets,” where the two found jobs—Sal didn’t show up... (full context)
Friendship Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
...called the Rockies “papier-mâché,” and “the whole universe was crazy and cock-eyed and extremely strange.” Dean then arrived and announced that he was all set to divorce Marylou and marry Camille. (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Dean and Carlo sat down cross-legged on Carlo’s bed, stared at each other, and talked: “they... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 9
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Sal went to some bars and then returned to the party. He wished Dean and Carlo were with him, but then realized they would probably be out of place... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 10
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
...came back to Denver, he found Carlo and was surprised to learn that Carlo and Dean had also been in Central City, going around to different bars. Dean then stole a... (full context)
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
...Rawlins, and Tim Gray. He wandered around Denver for a few days, unable to find Dean or Carlo. Sal says that he simply “had to go.” He finally found Carlo and... (full context)
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Sal went to the bus station and bought a ticket to San Francisco. Dean called Sal right before he left and said that he and Carlo would join Sal... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 11
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
...had to leave the city or else he’d go crazy. He wrote to Carlo and Dean, and they sent replies that they were going to meet him in San Francisco. (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
...He went to visit his brother in Testament, Virginia for Christmas, 1948, and wrote to Dean to tell him where he’d be. While sitting around his brother’s house with relatives, a... (full context)
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
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Along with Dean were Marylou and someone named Ed Dunkel. Sal’s family and southern relatives looked at Dean,... (full context)
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Sal learned that Dean had lived with Camille in San Francisco and had a daughter. He worked on the... (full context)
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...Galatea kept wanting to sleep at hotels, which drained all their money, so Ed and Dean “gave her the slip in a hotel lobby.” (full context)
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Dean felt a desire to see Marylou again, so he drove to Denver and found her.... (full context)
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Dean danced inside to a jazz record, to the dismay of Sal’s southern relatives. Sal says... (full context)
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Dean then suddenly sped away and asked Sal where Carlo was. Dean thought that “this was... (full context)
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Dean saw a black woman and said, “Dig her, ...that little gone black lovely. Ah! Hmm!”... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 2
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Sal, Dean, Marylou, and Ed took off at night for Paterson, New Jersey. They sped along and... (full context)
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Sal says that he went with Dean “for no reason.” He had been seeing a woman named Lucille in New York and... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 3
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Sal, Ed, Dean, and Marylou went to Sal’s house in Paterson and slept there. The next day, Sal... (full context)
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Sal got another call from Camille, in San Francisco, looking for Dean. Dean called her back, while Sal called Carlo Marx and told him to come over.... (full context)
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Dean and Sal drove Carlo back into New York and then drove back down to Virginia... (full context)
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Dean went on and on about his strange ideas and beliefs. Sal says that “these were... (full context)
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...Ed and Marylou smoking cigarettes in his aunt’s house, not having eaten since Sal and Dean left. Sal’s aunt bought some groceries and cooked everyone “a tremendous breakfast.” (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 4
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Dean and Sal were looking for a place to live in Manhattan as New Year’s Eve... (full context)
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...Lucille to one and she told him she didn’t like him when he was around Dean. Marylou flirted with Sal and told him that Dean was going to go back to... (full context)
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...“a great scholar,” whose “excitement blew out of his eyes in stabs of fiendish light.” Dean loved Rollo. (full context)
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During their weekend of partying, Sal and Dean went to hear a jazz pianist play. Dean was ecstatic at the music and referred... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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...his aunt’s house to rest. His aunt told him he was wasting his time with Dean, but Sal wanted to “take one more magnificent trip to the West Coast.” He says... (full context)
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Before Sal, Dean, Marylou, and Ed left, Carlo talked to them in his apartment and asked what they... (full context)
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One day, Dean asked Sal for a favor. In a “hoodlum bar,” he asked Sal to “work Marylou,”... (full context)
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Sal couldn’t go through with it while Dean was watching, so he asked Dean to go into the other room. Sal whispered to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 6
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Sal, Dean, Marylou, and Ed all felt good getting on the road again. Sal felt as though... (full context)
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As they drove toward New Orleans, Dean told Marylou that they had to live together in San Francisco, where he’d be home... (full context)
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The police charged Dean a 25 dollar fee. When Dean protested, they threatened to take him to jail. Dean... (full context)
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Dean picked up a bum in Virginia named Hyman Solomon, who said he went around to... (full context)
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...Testament, Virginia, Solomon said that he could “hustle up a few dollars,” and then join Dean and everyone for a ride to Alabama. But, when Solomon left to go get some... (full context)
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Dean picked up another hitchhiker and then dropped him off in North Carolina. Sal drove along... (full context)
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Dean began “telling his life story,” and told everyone how he lost his virginity at age... (full context)
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As they drove into the city, Dean pointed at various women and yelled, “Oh I love, love, love women!” He saw “Negroes...working... (full context)
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...who had discovered that Bull had seven personalities. Sal describes Bull as a teacher: he, Dean, and Carlo had all learned from him. (full context)
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Sal and Dean wanted to go out for a night on the town in New Orleans, but Bull... (full context)
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Sal, Dean, and Bull took a ferry into New Orleans. Sal watched as “the river poured down... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
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The next day, Dean was helping Bull salvage a piece of wood for a shelf. As he practiced throwing... (full context)
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Back at Bull’s place, Sal, Dean, and Ed played basketball and then “turned to feats of athletic prowess.” Then, Sal, Dean,... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 8
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Sal, Dean, and Marylou drove out of New Orleans, along the Mississippi River. They stopped at a... (full context)
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They drove through some swampy land. Dean hoped they’d find a “jazzjoint...with great big black fellas moanin guitar blues.” They soon found... (full context)
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...mud to avoid a car coming at them on the wrong side of the road. Dean and Sal had to get the car unstuck out of the mud, and ended up... (full context)
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In Sonora, Sal stole more food. Dean kept talking nonsense, and drove them toward El Paso. At one point, he stopped and... (full context)
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After a while, they parked the car and Marylou and Dean had sex while Sal slept. They drove onward to Clint, Texas, the home of a... (full context)
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Dean came back and they sped out of El Paso, planning to pick up some hitchhikers... (full context)
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Dean picked up a young hitchhiker, but the hitchhiker had no money. Sal said he could... (full context)
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...friend Hal Hingham, a writer who had moved to Arizona to write in peace. Sal, Dean, and Marylou ate a meal at Hal’s place, and then Hal leant Sal five dollars.... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
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...group picked up a hitchhiker (a musician) and drove down a mountain pass into California. Dean told Sal all about his times in California as they drove past different places. When... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
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...a hotel that let them stay on a room on credit. Sal “lost faith” in Dean, who had abandoned him, and says he had “the beatest time of my life” in... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 11
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Dean finally found Sal in this state and brought him to his house with Camille. Sal... (full context)
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Sal and Dean saw Slim Gaillard, a black jazz musician, perform in a nightclub. Dean loved the performance... (full context)
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On the last night before leaving San Francisco, Sal went out with Dean. Dean found Marylou and the three of them went all over the city, “hitting Negro... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
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...Mexican, pure Indian,” all playing softball. Sal felt sad and thought the pitcher looked like Dean, while a woman watching the game looked like Marylou. (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 2
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Dean answered the front door completely naked and welcomed Sal inside, where they talked. Camille was... (full context)
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Dean filled Sal in on what had been happening in San Francisco. Dean had “gone crazy... (full context)
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Dean barged into Marylou’s apartment with a gun and gave it to her, telling her to... (full context)
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Dean told Sal about all the medicines he had to take because of his thumb and... (full context)
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The next morning, Camille came into the house, saw Dean and Sal with another friend, and threw Dean out of the house. As Camille and... (full context)
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Dean was still his enthusiastic self after getting thrown out, but Sal saw how badly Dean... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 3
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Dean and Sal went to a bar to plan their trip. Dean wanted to go to... (full context)
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...would come back to her. Sal “got to like” Galatea, so she went out with Dean, Sal, and a girl named Marie for a night on the town. (full context)
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Galatea criticized Dean for leaving Camille, and Sal tried to defend him. Galatea scolded Dean for traveling east... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
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The group went out to hear some jazz music and had a great time. Dean and Sal got one jazz musician to join them and hang out with them. They... (full context)
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Dean and Sal went around to different bars and ended up drinking with “a colored guy... (full context)
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Dean had a friend who lived with his father in a hotel room, and they ended... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 5
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Sal and Dean hitched a ride along with a tourist couple out of San Francisco with “a tall,... (full context)
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In Sacramento, the driver bought a hotel room and invited Sal and Dean up to the room. He propositioned them, and Dean tried to get him to give... (full context)
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Sal tried to assure the passengers that Dean was a good driver, but they insisted on someone else driving the rest of the... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 6
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In Denver, Dean made a comment in a restaurant about Sal getting older, which upset Sal. Referring to... (full context)
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...husband had run off, was called Frankie. She was about to buy a truck, and Dean tried to help her choose one to buy, but she backed out in the end,... (full context)
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One night, Dean arranged for his cousin Sam to meet up with Sal and him. Dean told Sal... (full context)
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When Sam arrived, he told Dean he didn’t drink anymore and said that he only came so that Sal would sign... (full context)
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Sam left and Dean and Sal went to a carnival, where they spotted “one amazing little girl,” amid a... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 7
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The next afternoon, Dean and Sal walked around Denver. Dean walked into a sports store and stole a softball,... (full context)
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Across the field behind Frankie’s house lived “a beautiful young chick” that Dean was interested in, and as Dean and Sal kept drinking, Dean would periodically run across... (full context)
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Sal, Dean, and Frankie prepared to go out drinking in Denver that night. Sal got a call... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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The next morning, Dean was worried because his fingerprints were all over the stolen car, which he realized belonged... (full context)
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Dean picked up a waitress, whom he convinced that the Cadillac was his. He drove off... (full context)
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Dean told Sal that he wanted to stop at Ed Wall’s ranch on the way to... (full context)
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Dean went to get help from a nearby farmer, who towed the car out of the... (full context)
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At last, they got to Ed Wall’s ranch. Sal says that Ed was like “Dean’s older brother.” Ed’s wife cooked a large meal for everyone. Dean tried to convince Ed... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 9
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As they continued driving, Dean and Sal admired the car. Dean said that with this car they could drive all... (full context)
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Dean drove past some hobos on the side of the road and thought if his father... (full context)
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Later on, Dean got pulled over by a policeman, who said the man they rear-ended claimed that he... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 10
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Dean and Sal shaved and showered at a local YMCA and then drove around in the... (full context)
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...describes some of his favorite jazz musicians. They saw a musician named George Shearing, and Dean said that Shearing was God. After their crazy night, Sal and Dean returned the car... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 11
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Dean and Sal got on a bus to Detroit. Dean fell asleep and Sal talked with... (full context)
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Dean says he almost got swept up with the garbage in the theater by some attendants... (full context)
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Dean and Sal wandered around Detroit and finally found a man who offered to drive them... (full context)
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About five days later, Dean met a woman named Inez at a party and fell for her. He called Camille... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 1
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...spring came, he felt the need to go. He decided to leave New York without Dean, who was working at a parking garage and living with Inez. Sal realized that he... (full context)
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One night, Sal and Dean were talking and Dean said it wouldn’t be so bad if they ended up as... (full context)
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One afternoon, Dean and Sal played baseball and basketball outside with some younger kids, who easily beat them.... (full context)
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Sal told Dean that he hoped they’d grow old together with their families, living on the same street,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2
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...to jazz in Denver. Sal was preparing to go to Mexico when he learned that Dean was on his way to Denver. (full context)
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Sal imagined Dean traveling west like “a burning shuddering frightful angel...pursuing me like the Shrouded Traveler.” He figured... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 3
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When Dean arrived, Sal was at Babe Rawlins’ house. Babe’s mother was out of town, so her... (full context)
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Dean informed Sal that he was going to get a Mexican divorce (“cheaper and quicker than... (full context)
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The group went from party to party, getting “fumingly drunk.” Dean and Sal drove around and Sal started to get excited for their trip south to... (full context)
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...not to go. Sal realized that Stan was “fleeing his grandfather” for some reason. Sal, Dean, and Stan got in Dean’s car and took off, headed for Mexico. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 4
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They drove through Texas, as Dean and Sal told Stan about books they had read and Stan talked about his travels... (full context)
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While Stan went to a hospital, Dean and Sal went to a pool hall and got excited about Mexico. They drove off,... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 5
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...being in Mexico and drove further south, into a desert. Sal says that he and Dean “had the whole of Mexico before us.” (full context)
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Dean told Sal that they were entering “a new and unknown phase of things.” They arrived... (full context)
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They got back on the road and headed toward Monterrey. Dean said he was high off the Mexican sun. He kept driving through Monterrey for Mexico... (full context)
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...to the car and Victor rolled a huge joint, which everyone (including Victor’s brothers) smoked. Dean and Sal liked Victor and his brothers, though they couldn’t understand what they were talking... (full context)
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Sal says that Dean looked like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and like God. Victor brought over his baby son to... (full context)
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Dean, Sal, and Stan danced with the prostitutes, and then went off with different ones. Sal... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 6
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...back to sleep and then had a vision of a wild white horse galloping toward Dean. In the morning, Dean said he also dreamed of a white horse. (full context)
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Dean, Sal, and Stan started driving through the jungle again, seeing all sorts of gigantic bugs.... (full context)
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Dean guessed about the girl’s life, how she would never know anything of the “outside world,”... (full context)
Part 5, Chapter 1
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Sal says that Dean drove back through Gregoria all the way to Louisiana before the car broke down and... (full context)
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...He and the girl, named Laura, planned to go to San Francisco and Sal wrote Dean to tell him, but then Dean ended up coming to New York. (full context)
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Dean told Sal things were good between Camille and him, and that he wanted Inez to... (full context)
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Sal says that the last time he saw Dean was “under sad and strange circumstances.” Remi Boncoeur happened to be in New York, and... (full context)
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Dean asked to ride uptown with Sal as far as Penn Station, but Remi refused, so... (full context)