On the Road

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A friend of Dean and Sal who shows up with Dean at Sal’s brother’s house in Virginia around Christmas. Ed marries Galatea before taking her west with Dean, but then he and Dean ditch Galatea in a hotel lobby. Ed continually abandons Galatea, but she remains confident that he will come back to her, and at the end of the novel they seem to have worked things out and are still together.

Ed Dunkel Quotes in On the Road

The On the Road quotes below are all either spoken by Ed Dunkel or refer to Ed Dunkel. 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 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. 


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Ed Dunkel Character Timeline in On the Road

The timeline below shows where the character Ed Dunkel appears in On the Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2, Chapter 1
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Along with Dean were Marylou and someone named Ed Dunkel . Sal’s family and southern relatives looked at Dean, Marylou, and Ed with confusion. Sal’s... (full context)