On the Road

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Sal Paradise Character Analysis

The protagonist and narrator of the novel. Sal is a young writer living with his aunt in New Jersey, who gets swept up by the mad eccentricity and excitement of Dean. He follows Dean out west and ends up loving the road, going on a series of Beat adventures all across America. Sal takes time in between his long trips to finish a book, which he is able to sell to publishers for some money. He spends much of the novel pursuing and following Dean, with whom he is fascinated and develops an intense friendship. Sal is taken with the wandering, free, countercultural lifestyle that Dean epitomizes and it is through his adoring eyes as narrator that we see Dean and the other bums, criminals, and hooligans he spends so much of his time with. But, at the end of the novel, Sal appears to have settled down with Laura and to have left the part of his life on the road behind.

Sal Paradise Quotes in On the Road

The On the Road quotes below are all either spoken by Sal Paradise or refer to Sal Paradise. 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.

But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “awww!”

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker)
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

This luminous passage is Sal's clearest articulation of his compulsion towards people who are eccentric, reckless, and even dangerous and self-destructive. Sal isn't interested in banal daily life or in people who follow rules and live out other people's ideas and expectations – he wants passionate people who are unique and unafraid of consequences. This explains his attraction to the counterculture and the group of freewheeling friends he accumulates throughout the book.

It's important that Sal specifies that these are the types of people he's "shambled after...all my life." His wording suggests that he sees a difference between himself and those people. He is following after people who interest him in order to see their world, but he doesn't see himself as one of them necessarily. For this reason, his friendships – while intense and often rewarding – always seem a little precarious. Sal's values and interests are always slightly ajar from the group. By the end of the book we get the sense that it might be his ambition and instincts as a writer that separate him from these people who strive only to be present in the moment.

Part 1, Chapter 4 Quotes

“Hell’s bells, it’s Wild West Week,” said Slim. Big crowds of businessmen, fat businessmen in boots and ten-gallon hats, with their hefty wives in cowgirl attire, bustled and whoopeed on the wooden sidewalks of old Cheyenne; farther down were the long stringy boulevard lights of new downtown Cheyenne, but the celebration was focusing on Oldtown. Blank guns went off. The saloons were crowded to the sidewalk. I was amazed, and at the same time I felt it was ridiculous: in my first shot at the West I was seeing to what absurd devices it had fallen to keep its proud tradition.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Montana Slim
Page Number: 27-28
Explanation and Analysis:

This is Sal's first time in the western United States, and his pre-existing conceptions about it are very specific. He has an almost frontier-period imagination of the West; he associates it with freedom, cowboys, open spaces, and the ability to re-invent one's self without accountability. When Sal saw his first real cowboy in Nebraska, he felt that something he thought he knew about the West had been confirmed.

However, in Cheyenne he realizes for the first time that his ideas about the West are over-simplified and outdated. The town has turned the old West into a sort of Hollywood spectacle that strikes Sal as deeply inauthentic. Sal's self-awareness, by this point, is neither strong nor sharp. He thinks it's sad that Cheyenne has stooped to this kind of celebration, but he does not recognize that his ideas about what the West should be are equally romantic. During his time in the West he finds many different realities that aren't what he expected. This passage marks the beginning of his reckoning with the stereotypes he once believed in. 

Part 1, Chapter 10 Quotes

I wanted to go and get Rita again and tell her a lot more things, and really make love to her this time, and calm her fears about men. Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk—real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker), Rita Bettencourt
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

Throughout the book, nearly all the male characters have dismissive, patronizing, and even abusive attitudes towards the women in their lives. While Sal seems to genuinely like Rita, that does not translate to respect for her. Sal describes Rita as being "tremendously frightened of sex," and he says he wants to "prove" to her that sex is "beautiful." Instead of respecting that it seems she doesn't want to have sex, he feels compelled to teach her something. This is patronizing on its face, but this reasoning also seems to be a screen for Sal's more self-serving desire to have sex with her. In this passage, Sal is lamenting that he is leaving Denver and can't return to Rita, although this seems an ambivalent sentiment since he made vague plans to meet up with her in San Francisco that he never follows up on. Women are disposable objects of delight and fascination (and sometimes scorn and frustration) in this book, but rarely anything more.

Sal's lament, too, that American norms dictate that men and women must have sex immediately without talking about anything deep first seems misguided. Rita was not eager to have sex with him immediately – it was he who pressured her without first asking about her dreams and desires. As a narrator, Sal's take on the world can't be trusted at face value, but the warped ways he describes his experiences shed light on his inner life.

Part 1, Chapter 11 Quotes

This is the story of America. Everybody’s doing what they think they’re supposed to do. So what if a bunch of men talk in loud voices and drink the night?

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker)
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the book, Sal is working as a guard at a barracks that houses construction workers – he has a cop's badge and uniform, which would seem to be symbols of law and order. However, Sal doesn't oversee or discipline the workers; he drinks with them instead and does his job badly because he is too drunk and rowdy. This passage comes after Sal has unsuccessfully tried to persuade a co-worker to give the men another chance and not arrest them for their behavior the previous night (which was also Sal's behavior, though Sal is not in trouble himself).

Sal doesn't protest hard or implicate himself, rather he thinks to himself a platitude about how, "This is the story of America" and everyone is doing what they think they're supposed to do rather than being true to themselves. This is an odd and contradictory position for Sal to be in, because he is suddenly an authority figure – he represents the establishment rather than the counterculture to these men – and, because of this, he is immune from punishment. So he is benefiting from being a guard, but, all the while, he denounces such authority figures as conformists. This mirrors Sal's position in the book overall. He is devoted to a romanticized counterculture, but he's only able to choose the life he lives because he has some money and he's a white man (women and minorities in this book generally do not have the freedom to make the choices he has made). In other words, he is always both the establishment and the counterculture at once.

Here I was at the end of America—no more land—and now there was nowhere to go but back.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker)
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

By this point in the novel, Sal is tiring of San Francisco. He thought that he would go West and find the freedom and happiness he craved, but he quickly sours on this idea as his friendships strain, he runs into trouble at work, and he finds certain parts of the city boring. This encapsulates one lesson of the novel, that a person's initial goal never turns out to be what they thought it would be, and the path to get there is always more rewarding than the achievement itself.

This also marks a shift in mentality for Sal. Until he got to California he could still have the romanticized frontier-era ideas about the West that initially drove his journey, but once he has reached "the end of America" he has to acknowledge that America is not going to give him what he initially hoped. In saying that "there was nowhere to go but back," Sal is admitting that he needs to re-evaluate his desires and expectations and, perhaps, revisit the realities that he had overlooked in favor of his illusions about America. As he traverses the country once more on his way back East, his observations become more specific and nuanced, less about what he hopes he will see and more focused on what he actually sees and experiences.

Part 1, Chapter 13 Quotes

There was an old Negro couple in the field with us. They picked cotton with the same God-blessed patience their grandfathers had practiced in ante-bellum Alabama; they moved right along their rows, bent and blue, and their bags increased. My back began to ache. But it was beautiful kneeling and hiding in that earth.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker)
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

Much like Sal's assessment of his interaction with Rita, this passage points to Sal's unreliability as a balanced and reasonable narrator. Often in the book, Sal and Dean and others fetishize the African American experience as one that is somehow free from the pressures and norms of white America. Obviously, that assessment ignores the violence and prejudice that, in fact, limit African American choices in ways that a white American's choices would not be limited. Here, Sal easily praises the beauty of picking cotton, though he speaks only from an experience of doing it casually and by choice. By contrast, the black farmers and sharecroppers that pick cotton have to do this particular work in order to survive – and it's grueling labor, something that Sal can't appreciate from his tourist's understanding of it. Most tellingly, Sal casually refers to the "God-blessed patience" with which African Americans have picked cotton for generations; he's romanticizing slavery here and implying that there was something peaceful and beautiful in being enslaved and forced to pick cotton.

In a sense, this easy reverence for the labor of cotton picking flies in the face of the racist de-valuing of jobs that were traditionally held by minorities. Sal likely believes – and he is, perhaps, correct – that his attitude towards African Americans and their work is more generous than the mainstream white attitude towards minorities in the 1940s. However, replacing racist disdain with romanticized reverence is still evading a frank acknowledgement of the realities that minorities were facing. As much as Sal believes he is on a journey to learn the real America, he doesn't seem capable very often of seeing past the surface.

Part 1, Chapter 14 Quotes

I thought all the wilderness of America was in the West till the Ghost of the Susquehanna showed me different. no, there is a wilderness in the East; it’s the same wilderness Ben Franklin plodded in the oxcart days when he was postmaster, the same as it was when George Washington was a wild-buck Indian-fighter, when Daniel Boone told stories by Pennsylvania lamps and promised to find the Gap, when Bradford built his road and men whooped her up in log cabins. There were not great Arizona spaces for the little man, just the bushy wilderness of eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, the backroads, the black-tar roads that curve among the mournful rivers like the Susquehanna, Monogahela, old Potomac and Monocacy.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker)
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the book, Sal is traveling back East from California and he is spending more time noticing the parts of the country he initially passed over in his hurry to get out West. This marks a part of the book in which his observations become more specific. Instead of dealing in vague tropes about the West, Sal is suddenly thinking about specific historical figures and their relationship to the American landscapes they inhabited.

Significantly, he frames all these men as wanderers, much like him, who were searching for something in the American wilderness. He does not acknowledge that these were all men with very specific goals and tangible attachments and commitments to their society. While this is, again, an example of Sal romanticizing the past in a self-serving way, it is, at the very least, a little more nuanced than the romantic ideas he conjured up earlier in the book, and it is an explicit acknowledgement that Sal was wrong before to look for freedom in a specific place. This passage seems to imply that Sal is discovering that the kind of freedom he once associated with the West can be found anywhere – that freedom is more tied to attitude than place.

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 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 1 Quotes

At lilac evening I walked with every muscle aching among the lights of 27th and Welton in the Denver colored section, wishing I were a Negro, feeling that the best the white world had offered me was not enough ecstasy for me, not enough life, joy, kicks, darkness, music, not enough night. . . . I wished I were a Denver Mexican, or even a poor overworked Jap, anything but what I was so drearily, a “white man” disillusioned.

Related Characters: Sal Paradise (speaker)
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point, Sal has tried to settle in Denver and commit to a stable job at a fruit market, but he is dissatisfied with the life that he is living after the excitement of the road. His response to this dissatisfaction is to romanticize the lives of minorities because they seem to Sal to be living exciting lives that are outside of the American mainstream.

What Sal does not understand is that their lives are not an example of the kind of countercultural existence that Sal chose for himself. The people he romanticizes live in white-imposed exile from the American mainstream because of bigotry. For Sal to imagine the excitement and ecstasy of being a minority (in contrast to the dreary disillusionment of being a white man with an obligation to go to work every day) shows how profoundly he does not understand America, even though his whole purpose in life seems to be to explore America and try to see it for what it is. 

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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Sal Paradise Character Timeline in On the Road

The timeline below shows where the character Sal Paradise appears in On the Road. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1, Chapter 1
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Sal Paradise recalls how his “life on the road” began when he met Dean Moriarty, shortly... (full context)
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...asked Chad King to teach him how to write and Chad told him to ask Sal instead, since Sal was a writer. After getting in a fight with Marylou and then... (full context)
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Dean and Sal went to get drinks and Sal agreed to let Dean stay with him for a... (full context)
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According to Sal, while out west before coming to New York, Dean had spent “a third of his... (full context)
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Dean and Carlo hit it off right away and Sal ended up following them as they rushed down the street, just as he’s pursued interesting... (full context)
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In the spring, many of Sal’s friends—including Dean—took trips out west. Dean, Carlo, and Sal took a picture together before Dean... (full context)
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Sal says that he went after Dean partly because he reminded him of a kind of... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 2
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In July 1947, Sal was prepared to go west, having saved up fifty dollars. An old friend named Remi... (full context)
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Sal saw on a map that Route 6 went all the way from Cape Cod to... (full context)
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Sal cursed and thought of everyone out west “having a big time,” without him. At last,... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 3
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Sal took a bus through Pennsylvania and Ohio all the way to Chicago. He walked around... (full context)
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Sal took a bus out of Chicago and then started to hitchhike again. A woman picked... (full context)
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Sal took another bus and then got picked up by a truck driver, who took him... (full context)
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Sal saw some beautiful girls in Iowa, but says he was in a hurry to get... (full context)
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Sal and Eddie got on a bus and made their way into Nebraska, where Sal saw... (full context)
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The cowboy told Sal that he hated Nebraska and told him to come see “God’s country,” Montana, sometime. They... (full context)
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Sal and Eddie continued journeying with the cowboy and then found other people to hitchhike with.... (full context)
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At last, a farmer’s trailer pulled up to Sal and Eddie, and its driver said that he could only take on one passenger. Without... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 4
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Sal says that shortly after this he had “the greatest ride in my life.” It was... (full context)
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The truck was headed for Los Angeles. Sal thought about riding all the way to California, but decided that he had to go... (full context)
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The hitchhikers ate, and Sal bought a bottle of whiskey. The truck continued on, speeding into Colorado, as the hitchhikers... (full context)
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Sal talked with Mississippi Gene, who told him he had some friends they could stay with... (full context)
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Mississippi Gene made fun of Sal’s ragged shoes, and all the hitchhikers laughed together and continued drinking the whiskey. The truck... (full context)
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...called Ogallala and the two North Dakota farmers got off to find work on farms. Sal went into a soda fountain and bought cigarettes for some of his fellow hitchhikers. The... (full context)
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...made it to Cheyenne, where it was Wild West Week, with everyone dressed like cowboys. Sal was disappointed at “what absurd devices [the West] had fallen to keep its proud tradition.”... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 5
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Sal went to some bars with Montana Slim and then ate at a chili joint where... (full context)
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After going to a nightclub, Sal’s girl wanted to go back to her home in Colorado. He offered to take her... (full context)
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When Sal woke the next day, Montana Slim was already gone. Hungover, he went outside and saw... (full context)
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Inside the gas station, Sal had a milkshake, prepared by “a very beautiful Colorado gal.” This made Sal excited for... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 6
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The first thing Sal did in Denver was look up Chad King. He called Chad’s mother, who located him,... (full context)
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Sal says he found himself in the middle of a dispute between Chad King (and some... (full context)
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Dean and Carlo had a basement apartment, where Sal would later spend “many a night that went to dawn.” But on his first day... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 7
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In Denver, Sal moved in with his friend, a writer named Roland Major, in an apartment belonging to... (full context)
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Sal continued to wonder where Dean was, until one day he received a call from Carlo... (full context)
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Carlo told Sal that he and Dean were attempting to “communicate with absolute honesty,” while sitting on a... (full context)
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Carlo informs Sal of Dean’s schedule: he is with Marylou during the day while Carlo works, then goes... (full context)
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Carlo and Sal went to the house where Dean and Camille were. Carlo knocked on the door, then... (full context)
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Sal, Dean, and Carlo took off into the city. The trio went to a house where... (full context)
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The rowdy group went back into downtown Denver and Sal ended up finding himself alone in the street without any money. He walked back to... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 8
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Sal says that everyone began planning a trip to the mountains. Sal got a call from... (full context)
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After the party, Sal went to Carlo Marx’s house, where Carlo read him some of his poetry, in which... (full context)
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...discussed it; reminded each other of another abstract point forgotten in the rush of events.” Sal sat all night and listened to the two talk back and forth, until Dean decided... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 9
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Sal and his friends now made their “trek to the mountains.” He went with Ray Rawlins,... (full context)
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Sal went to the opera with Babe Rawlins, and he loved it, getting “lost in the... (full context)
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After cleaning the house, Tim, Ray Rawlins, and Sal went to the rooming house where the opera singers were staying. They took the singers’... (full context)
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Sal went to some bars and then returned to the party. He wished Dean and Carlo... (full context)
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Some of the opera singers came to the party and sang. Sal was having a great time and says that “the girls were terrific.” Then, some teenagers... (full context)
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Out in Central City, Sal saw someone named Denver Doll shaking hands with everyone and talking to all sorts of... (full context)
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...got into a dispute with an Argentinian tourist at the bar and punched him out. Sal, Tim, and Ray left the bar before the sheriff could find Ray. Outside, they ran... (full context)
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Sal and his friends went back into the same bar, where Tim threw a drink in... (full context)
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The next morning, Sal had stale beer for breakfast. He and his friends began the “sad ride back to... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 10
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When Sal came back to Denver, he found Carlo and was surprised to learn that Carlo and... (full context)
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Sal says that Rita was “a nice little girl, simple and true, and tremendously frightened of... (full context)
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Sal said goodbye to Roland Major, Ray Rawlins, and Tim Gray. He wandered around Denver for... (full context)
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Sal went to the bus station and bought a ticket to San Francisco. Dean called Sal... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 11
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When Sal got to San Francisco, he was two weeks late for meeting his friend Remi Boncoeur.... (full context)
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Sal found Remi’s place in a neighborhood of “housing-project shacks.” Remi had left a note on... (full context)
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Sal says that he met Remi in prep school, but the two bonded because Remi had... (full context)
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Remi was delighted when Sal climbed in through the window and laughed when he saw him. Sal describes a black... (full context)
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Remi had Sal sleep on a cot in his shack and made sure to tell Sal “not to... (full context)
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Sal wrote “some gloomy tale about New York,” which Remi took to Hollywood. After more writing,... (full context)
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Sal went to work at the barracks, which housed overseas construction workers, most of whom “were... (full context)
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...were drinking and making lots of noise, because their ship was leaving the next morning. Sal went to one door and asked them to quiet down, but the occupants offered him... (full context)
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In the morning, the other guards (including one who had worked at Alcatraz), told Sal that he could go to jail for hanging the flag upside down. The Alcatraz guard... (full context)
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One night, another guard told Sal that they had to arrest some workers for making too much noise. Sal reluctantly went... (full context)
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Remi and Sal were often on duty by themselves. Remi would walk around looking for open doors, so... (full context)
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Remi and Sal were often able to break into the barracks cafeteria and steal all sorts of food.... (full context)
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One day, Sal and Remi went in to San Francisco and saw the Banana King, an old man... (full context)
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Another day, Remi, Sal, and Lee Ann went out to an old abandoned freighter in the San Francisco bay.... (full context)
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Sal began going out in San Francisco more often, trying to meet women. He describes “the... (full context)
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...began to fall apart with Remi and Lee Ann. Things came to a head when Sal went with them to a racetrack. On the way, Remi delivered a bag of groceries... (full context)
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Frustrated after losing his money, Remi got angry with Sal, and then he and Lee Ann got into an argument. Lee Ann threatened to leave... (full context)
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Remi asked Sal and Lee Ann for one final favor. His stepfather, a “distinguished doctor” from Europe was... (full context)
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By the day of the dinner, Sal had just recently quit his barracks job. He met Remi and Lee Ann at a... (full context)
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Sal realized that the dinner was a failure and that Remi wouldn’t talk to him again... (full context)
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The next morning, Sal decided to leave San Francisco, but then saw a mountain that he had promised he... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 12
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The next morning, Sal slipped out the window of Remi’s shack while Remi and Lee Ann were still sleeping.... (full context)
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After more hitchhiking, Sal found himself in Bakersfield, and went to the bus station to catch a bus to... (full context)
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Sal and the “Mexican girl” traded their stories. She had left her abusive husband and was... (full context)
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When the bus arrived in L.A., Sal started to worry that Teresa (the Mexican girl, whose name he now happens to mention)... (full context)
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Sal mentioned a friend of his in New York, a six-foot redhead named Dorie, and Teresa... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 13
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Sal stayed at the hotel with Teresa for the next fifteen days. They planned to hitchhike... (full context)
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Nonetheless, L.A. was full of “the beatest characters,” marijuana, jazz, and “long-haired brokendown hipsters.” Sal “wanted to meet them all,” but he and Teresa were busy looking for work, so... (full context)
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Sal went with Teresa as she got her things from her sister and a friend who... (full context)
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As Sal and Teresa walked along the road, cars full of high-school kids sped by, the kids... (full context)
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The next morning, Sal and Teresa decided to go to Bakersfield and work picking grapes until they had enough... (full context)
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Sal and Teresa bought a bottle of wine that night and after drinking they decided to... (full context)
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Teresa’s brother, Rickey, sold manure to farmers. He drove Sal and Teresa to “see some farmers about manure.” They drove around and talked to some... (full context)
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Sal got drunk with Rickey and Ponzo, and then they ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant... (full context)
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The next day, Sal found a tent in the “cotton fields and grape vineyards,” where he could stay with... (full context)
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Sal found a job picking cotton. It was difficult work, but “it was beautiful kneeling and... (full context)
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When winter came around, Teresa and Sal decided they had to leave their tent. Teresa and Sal went back with Ponzo to... (full context)
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Sal went with Teresa back to her family, but he waited a quarter-mile away, so her... (full context)
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Not wanting Sal to leave, Teresa told him that he could stay in a nearby farmer’s barn, and... (full context)
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Teresa didn’t want Sal to leave, but he told her that he had to. He had sex with Teresa... (full context)
Part 1, Chapter 14
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Sal’s bus went through Arizona. He had a book that he had stolen in L.A., but... (full context)
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Back on the bus, Sal met a girl and they “necked all the way to Indianapolis.” She got off the... (full context)
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The Ghost of the Susquehanna walked in the middle of the road and Sal was sure that “the poor little madman,” would get hit by a car. Sal eventually... (full context)
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Riding in the car, Sal saw the Ghost of the Susquehanna standing under a streetlamp. The driver stopped and told... (full context)
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Sal says that the wilderness of the east is the same wilderness of Ben Franklin, George... (full context)
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Sal caught a ride out of Harrisburg. He told the driver he was starving, and the... (full context)
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Sal found himself back in Times Square, after traveling “eight thousand miles around the American continent.”... (full context)
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At home, Sal “ate everything in the icebox.” He found his half-finished manuscript waiting for him. Sal says... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 1
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Sal stayed at home for a year, during which time he attended school on the G.I.... (full context)
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Sal learned that Dean had lived with Camille in San Francisco and had a daughter. He... (full context)
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Dean danced inside to a jazz record, to the dismay of Sal’s southern relatives. Sal says that Dean’s madness “had bloomed into a weird flower.” He went... (full context)
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Dean then suddenly sped away and asked Sal where Carlo was. Dean thought that “this was the new and complete Dean, grown to... (full context)
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...a black woman and said, “Dig her, ...that little gone black lovely. Ah! Hmm!” Dean, Sal, Marylou, and Ed sped back to Dean’s brother’s house. Sal says that he now had... (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... (full context)
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Sal says that he went with Dean “for no reason.” He had been seeing a woman... (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... (full context)
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Sal got another call from Camille, in San Francisco, looking for Dean. Dean called her back,... (full context)
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Dean and Sal drove Carlo back into New York and then drove back down to Virginia to get... (full context)
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Dean went on and on about his strange ideas and beliefs. Sal says that “these were the first days of his mysticism.” On the way back to... (full context)
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Sal drove into Paterson at dawn to find Ed and Marylou smoking cigarettes in his aunt’s... (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 rolled around.... (full context)
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Sal asked Ed what he was going to do about Galatea, and what he was going... (full context)
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Around this time, Sal got the feeling that he had forgotten something. He thought it had something to do... (full context)
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Sal went to a party at his friend Tom Saybrook’s place and then stayed in New... (full context)
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Sal resisted Marylou’s advances. He says that he knew he and Lucille “wouldn’t last much longer.”... (full context)
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Sal went to all sorts of parties. He saw his friend Damion, whom he calls “the... (full context)
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Sal went to Long Island and a party hosted by “the wild, ecstatic Rollo Greb.” 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... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 5
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Sal went back to his aunt’s house to rest. His aunt told him he was wasting... (full context)
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Before Sal, Dean, Marylou, and Ed left, Carlo talked to them in his apartment and asked what... (full context)
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One day, Dean asked Sal for a favor. In a “hoodlum bar,” he asked Sal to “work Marylou,” i.e. sleep... (full context)
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Sal couldn’t go through with it while Dean was watching, so he asked Dean to go... (full context)
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...at “jam on the floor, pants, dresses thrown around, cigarette butts, dirty dishes, open books.” Sal saw that “Marylou was black and blue from a fight with Dean about something,” and... (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... (full context)
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...twelve hours at a stretch,” while spending the rest of the time living with Camille. Sal had thought that Marylou was going to “switch” to him, and so began to worry... (full context)
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Sal and everyone arrived in Washington D.C. at dawn on the day of Truman’s inauguration for... (full context)
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...wanted to get a gun and shoot the cop who gave him the speeding ticket. Sal says that “the American police are involved in psychological warfare against those Americans who don’t... (full context)
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Dean picked up another hitchhiker and then dropped him off in North Carolina. Sal drove along “the holy road,” through South Carolina at night while everyone else slept. Dean... (full context)
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Old Bull Lee wasn’t home, but Sal saw Jane Lee there, who used to live with Sal’s wife and him in New... (full context)
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Sal gives a quick synopsis of Bull’s life. He travelled all around the world, reading and... (full context)
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Bull asked Sal what he was doing traveling across the country, and Sal didn’t have much of an... (full context)
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Sal and Dean wanted to go out for a night on the town in New Orleans,... (full context)
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Sal, Dean, and Bull took a ferry into New Orleans. Sal watched as “the river poured... (full context)
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Everyone drank and took drugs, playing out their “sad drama in the American night.” Sal wanted to go for a walk and look at the Mississippi River, but had to... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 7
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Bull told Sal some odd stories about his aunt, a man with a brain disease that made him... (full context)
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Bull and Sal went to the horse races. One horse’s name (Big Pop) reminded Sal of his father,... (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,... (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... (full context)
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...black fellas moanin guitar blues.” They soon found themselves surrounded by a dark forest and Sal says that the dark was “a manuscript of the night we couldn’t read.” As they... (full context)
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Sal took over driving after Houston. It started to rain and Sal had to veer off... (full context)
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In Sonora, Sal stole more food. Dean kept talking nonsense, and drove them toward El Paso. At one... (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 radio station Dean was... (full context)
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...El Paso, planning to pick up some hitchhikers who might help out with gas money. Sal says that Marylou watched Dean out of the corner of her eye with “an envious... (full context)
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Dean picked up a young hitchhiker, but the hitchhiker had no money. Sal said he could borrow money from a friend in Tucson, so they headed that way.... (full context)
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In Tucson, Sal found his friend Hal Hingham, a writer who had moved to Arizona to write in... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 9
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...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 they all... (full context)
Part 2, Chapter 10
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Sal and Marylou found a hotel that let them stay on a room on credit. Sal... (full context)
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Sal told Marylou about a dream he had, where a giant snake coiled in the earth,... (full context)
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Marylou left Sal and went off with a nightclub owner. Sal says he “saw what a whore she... (full context)
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Sal says that he crossed over from “chronological time into timeless shadows,” and saw angels. He... (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 liked Camille better... (full context)
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Sal and Dean saw Slim Gaillard, a black jazz musician, perform in a nightclub. Dean loved... (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... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 1
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After some time at home, Sal went to Denver and tried “settling down there,” with a job in a wholesale fruit... (full context)
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One evening Sal saw a bunch of young people “of all kinds, white, colored, Mexican, pure Indian,” all... (full context)
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Sal went to see “a rich girl” he knew, who gave him a hundred dollar bill... (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 upset, as she knew that the arrival of Sal... (full context)
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...gun and gave it to her, telling her to shoot him. She refused. Dean told Sal that Marylou was now married to a car salesman. Dean had an injured thumb from... (full context)
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Dean told Sal about all the medicines he had to take because of his thumb and its complications... (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 Dean were... (full context)
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Dean was still his enthusiastic self after getting thrown out, but Sal saw how badly Dean was doing. He suggested they go to New York and then... (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 Denver and... (full context)
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Sal decided to go see Galatea, whom Ed had recently left in order to go to... (full context)
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Galatea criticized Dean for leaving Camille, and Sal tried to defend him. Galatea scolded Dean for traveling east and leaving Camille to look... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 4
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...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 all piled... (full context)
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Dean and Sal went around to different bars and ended up drinking with “a colored guy called Walter.”... (full context)
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...father in a hotel room, and they ended up crashing with them for the night. Sal went to get his and Dean’s bags from Galatea’s place, where Galatea warned Sal, “Someday... (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... (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... (full context)
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Sal tried to assure the passengers that Dean was a good driver, but they insisted on... (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 the man who had driven them out of... (full context)
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One night, Dean arranged for his cousin Sam to meet up with Sal and him. Dean told Sal all about how close he was with his cousin when... (full context)
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...he told Dean he didn’t drink anymore and said that he only came so that Sal would sign a paper separating Sal from his family. Dean was saddened but asked Sam... (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 crowd of... (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, so they... (full context)
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...house lived “a beautiful young chick” that Dean was interested in, and as Dean and Sal kept drinking, Dean would periodically run across the field and whistle for the girl. The... (full context)
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Sal, Dean, and Frankie prepared to go out drinking in Denver that night. Sal got a... (full context)
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Sal and Frankie didn’t want to ride in a stolen car, so they took a cab... (full context)
Part 3, Chapter 8
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...his fingerprints were all over the stolen car, which he realized belonged to a detective. Sal and Dean hurriedly packed their things and left. They went to a travel bureau in... (full context)
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...waitress, whom he convinced that the Cadillac was his. He drove off with her, leaving Sal and two other passengers behind for a while, and then came speeding back to pick... (full context)
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Dean told Sal that he wanted to stop at Ed Wall’s ranch on the way to Chicago. He... (full context)
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...from a nearby farmer, who towed the car out of the ditch with his tractor. Sal told the two passengers in the car that Dean was mad but he was Sal’s... (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... (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 the way... (full context)
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...spoils of Chicago, a band of desperados escaped from the prisons of the Utah moon.” Sal calculated that Dean drove at an average of 70 miles per hour the whole way. (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 Cadillac for... (full context)
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They went out and heard a bunch of different jazz musicians perform. Sal describes some of his favorite jazz musicians. They saw a musician named George Shearing, and... (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 “a gorgeous... (full context)
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...to search for him in garbage pails all over the country until he could find Sal “embryonically convoluted among the rubbishes of my life, his life, and the life of everybody.” (full context)
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Dean and Sal wandered around Detroit and finally found a man who offered to drive them to New... (full context)
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...few months after that Inez gave birth. Now that Dean had several children, he and Sal decided not to go to Italy after all. (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 1
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Sal made some money from selling his book and, when spring came, he felt the need... (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... (full context)
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One afternoon, Dean and Sal played baseball and basketball outside with some younger kids, who easily beat them. They had... (full context)
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Sal told Dean that he hoped they’d grow old together with their families, living on the... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 2
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The next night, Sal took a bus toward Washington. He wandered around West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and Kansas.... (full context)
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Sal went to Denver with Henry, where they met up with Tim Gray and Stan Shephard.... (full context)
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Sal stayed in an apartment that Babe Rawlins arranged for him, and Henry “vanished off.” Sal,... (full context)
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Sal imagined Dean traveling west like “a burning shuddering frightful angel...pursuing me like the Shrouded Traveler.”... (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 aunt was... (full context)
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Dean informed Sal that he was going to get a Mexican divorce (“cheaper and quicker than any kind”)... (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 Mexico. Dean... (full context)
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Before they left, Sal went with Stan to his house, where his grandfather sadly begged Stan not to go.... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 4
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...arm swelled up, so the group had to stop and get penicillin from a hospital. Sal says, “O sad American night!” as he recalls how they drove down toward Mexico, sharing... (full context)
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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 in Europe.... (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, and went... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 5
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...They were tremendously excited about 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 at the... (full context)
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Sal drove for a while and felt like he was driving across the world, through “the... (full context)
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Sal stopped at a gas station near Gregoria and someone named Victor came to his car,... (full context)
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...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 about in... (full context)
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Sal says that Dean looked like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and like God. Victor brought over his... (full context)
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Dean, Sal, and Stan danced with the prostitutes, and then went off with different ones. Sal wanted... (full context)
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The whole time, Sal kept thinking of the sixteen-year-old girl. Victor finally showed Sal the bill for everything, which... (full context)
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Victor took them all to a nearby bathhouse, where Stan and Sal showered. Victor was sad to see them all go, and asked them to come back.... (full context)
Part 4, Chapter 6
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...they stopped and tried to sleep in the car, though it was incredibly hot out. Sal ended up sleeping on top of the car, getting bitten by hundreds of mosquitoes. Sal... (full context)
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A policeman found them sleeping by the car, but didn’t seem to mind. Sal says America doesn’t have this kind of “lovely policemen.” Sal tried to go back to... (full context)
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Dean, Sal, and Stan started driving through the jungle again, seeing all sorts of gigantic bugs. They... (full context)
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...hustle and bustle of the city, filled with “thousands of hipsters in floppy straw hats.” Sal was enjoying the city, but then started to get sick and delirious with a fever.... (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... (full context)
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When Sal was on his way back from Mexico City, just over the border in Texas he... (full context)
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In New York, Sal met the girl he “had always searched for” and fell in love. He and the... (full context)
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Dean told Sal things were good between Camille and him, and that he wanted Inez to come to... (full context)
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Sal says that the last time he saw Dean was “under sad and strange circumstances.” Remi... (full context)
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Dean asked to ride uptown with Sal as far as Penn Station, but Remi refused, so Sal and Laura got in the... (full context)