On the Road

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On the Road Part 1, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Sal went to some bars with Montana Slim and then ate at a chili joint where he left a love note for his waitress. Back outside, Slim asked Sal if he could find a mailbox, because he had written a postcard to his father. They went into another bar where they picked up two girls who were “dumb and sullen.”
Sal and Slim pass their time drinking and finding girls. Sal is more than willing to befriend other male travelers, but he is particularly critical of the women that he encounters.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
After going to a nightclub, Sal’s girl wanted to go back to her home in Colorado. He offered to take her home but she refused. She said she wanted to go to New York, but Sal told her, “ain’t nothin in New York.” Sal reflected on all the money he had wasted recently on drinks and fell asleep in the Cheyenne bus station.
Sal has already wasted most of his money somewhat irresponsibly. He says there’s nothing in New York, because it is for him a kind of stable home, in contrast to the excitement of the road.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
When Sal woke the next day, Montana Slim was already gone. Hungover, he went outside and saw the Rocky Mountains for the first time in his life. He set off walking along a highway toward Denver and hitched a ride to Longmont, Colorado. There, Sal slept on a grass lawn outside a gas station, happy to finally be in Colorado.
By traveling around the country, Sal gets to see the extreme variety of places that are all part of the United States, including the Rockies, a significant symbol of the American west.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
America Theme Icon
Inside the gas station, Sal had a milkshake, prepared by “a very beautiful Colorado gal.” This made Sal excited for what might await him in Denver. He caught another ride that took him into Denver. Having finally arrived, Sal had “the most wicked grin of joy in the world.”
Sal has completed the first part of his first road trip and is excited to see his friends. But will the destination be as good as the journey was?
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
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