On the Road

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On the Road Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In Denver, Sal moved in with his friend, a writer named Roland Major, in an apartment belonging to another friend named Tim Gray. Sal describes a story Roland wrote about a character who travels to Denver and hangs out with “arty types.” A few blocks away from Sal and Roland’s apartment was the Rawlins family, which included “the wild son,” Ray Rawlins. Ray and Sal became friends.
Roland’s writing stands in to some degree for Kerouac’s own novel, which is also written about “arty types” and writers. Sal continues to make new friends in Denver.
Themes
Friendship Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
Sal continued to wonder where Dean was, until one day he received a call from Carlo Marx. Carlo told him that Dean was also in Denver, seeing two women at the same time (one of them being Marylou).
As often, Dean is seeing multiple women as he wants, not considering their own feelings.
Themes
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Carlo told Sal that he and Dean were attempting to “communicate with absolute honesty,” while sitting on a bed facing each other, after taking the drug Benzedrine. Carlo says that Dean could do anything—“become mayor of Denver, marry a millionaires, or become the greatest poet since Rimbaud.”
Carlo and Dean attempt to have an intense friendship based on complete honesty. Their friendship is also based to some degree on drinking and drug use, like the Benzedrine they both take.
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Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Carlo informs Sal of Dean’s schedule: he is with Marylou during the day while Carlo works, then goes to his other woman, Camille, at 1 AM. Then, he meets up with Carlo and they talk until six in the morning. Carlo says that Dean and Marylou are preparing to divorce.
Without a normal job, Dean balances spending time with Marylou, his other woman, and his close friend Carlo. He plans to divorce Marylou, but still spends time with her, and will later come back to her.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
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Carlo and Sal went to the house where Dean and Camille were. Carlo knocked on the door, then hid, not wanting Camille to see him. Dean answered the door completely naked. Dean was overjoyed to see Sal and introduced him to Camille. He told Camille that he had to take Sal out and “fix him up with a girl.”
Dean’s nudity (which will recur throughout the novel) shows how he eschews cultural norms like clothing in favor of personal freedom.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Sal, Dean, and Carlo took off into the city. The trio went to a house where some sisters, all waitresses lived. Sal called Ray Rawlins, who came over and joined them. Ray called a friend with a car, and Sal suggested that they all go to his apartment. However, when they got there, Roland blocked the door, not wanting any “goings-on like this,” in the apartment.
Sal, Dean, and Carlo are focused on having a good time. Roland, by contrast, wants more peace and quiet. Roland is dedicated to spending time writing, whereas Sal is more dedicated to having a good time in order to collect experience to write about.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
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 his apartment, Roland let him in, and he fell asleep.
Despite finally being around all his friends, Sal ends up all alone on the street.
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Friendship Theme Icon