On the Road

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On the Road Part 1, Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next morning, Sal slipped out the window of Remi’s shack while Remi and Lee Ann were still sleeping. Sal realized that he never ended up spending a night on the abandoned ship in the bay. He hitchhiked south past towns with “magic names,” and inhaled “deep breaths of the fragrant air.”
As soon as Sal gets on the road, he feels better, enjoying the “magic names” of American towns and inhaling the “fragrant air.”
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
America Theme Icon
After more hitchhiking, Sal found himself in Bakersfield, and went to the bus station to catch a bus to Los Angeles. He saw “the cutest little Mexican girl,” whose “little flanks looked delicious,” and she ended up getting on the same bus as Sal, bound for L.A. Sal sat next to her and worked up the courage to talk to her.
As he continues on his hitchhiking journey, Sal finds a new girl who interests him. Once again, his descriptions immediately objectify the girl and reduce her to an object of his sexual appetite (literally, with the word “delicious”).
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Sal and the “Mexican girl” traded their stories. She had left her abusive husband and was going to L.A. to live with her sister. She had left her son with her brother. Before long, Sal and the girl were holding hands and he was leaning his head on her shoulder. Sal says that there was an unspoken agreement that “when I got my hotel room in LA she would be beside me.”
Unlike Sal, who is traveling by bus for personal enjoyment and fulfillment, the Mexican girl has gone on the road to escape an abusive husband. Sal’s kind of freely wandering travel relies on his privileged life.
Themes
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
When the bus arrived in L.A., Sal started to worry that Teresa (the Mexican girl, whose name he now happens to mention) was a hustler who took advantage of guys like him taking buses to L.A. Sal and Teresa got breakfast and then went to a hotel.
Sal is almost always critical of female characters, and quickly assumes the worst about Teresa.
Themes
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
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Sal mentioned a friend of his in New York, a six-foot redhead named Dorie, and Teresa thought that this was a Madame and Sal was a pimp. The two argued and Sal called her “a dumb little Mexican wench.” He told her to leave, but Teresa decided that Sal actually wasn’t a pimp, so she stayed. They had sex and slept until the late afternoon.
Sal’s insult is similar to many of his derogatory descriptions as narrator of other female characters.
Themes
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon