On the Road

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On the Road Part 2, Chapter 10 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Sal and Marylou found a hotel that let them stay on a room on credit. Sal “lost faith” in Dean, who had abandoned him, and says he had “the beatest time of my life” in San Francisco. Marylou stayed with him for a couple of days. Sal realized she had only wanted him to make Dean jealous, and so now was not interested in him.
Sal loses faith in Dean as their friendship seems to deteriorate a bit. Completely broke, Sal now really finds what it’s like to be a beat.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Sal told Marylou about a dream he had, where a giant snake coiled in the earth, which he says is Satan, was going to come up out of the earth and eat everything, until a saint named Doctor Sax would destroy it. But then Sal thought the snake might just be “a husk of doves.” He says he was “out of my mind with hunger and bitterness.”
Sal’s bizarre dream could be wringed for some kind of symbolic significance, but it may be equally wise to regard it as the mad vision of a delirious person. For Sal, though, the two are perhaps not mutually exclusive.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Marylou left Sal and went off with a nightclub owner. Sal says he “saw what a whore she was.” He walked around the city, mad with hunger, and saw a woman in a fish and chips restaurant. He thought she was his “mother of about two hundred years ago in England,” and had a hallucination where the woman scolded him and called him “lost boy.”
Following Dean’s misogyny, Sal calls Marylou a whore. But he and Dean sleep with all sorts of women all across the country. Sal thus shows a clear double-standard for sexual morality between men and women. It may be that what Sal is criticizing is that Marylou went off with someone who wasn't a beat, who wasn't broke, implying that she was trading herself in return for comfort and money. Yet one might also argue that she might have liked the nightclub owner and that it is not unjustified for Marylou, after the treatment she has received from Dean, to see what less "beat" men are like.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Sal says that he crossed over from “chronological time into timeless shadows,” and saw angels. He realized that he had been born and reborn countless times and felt “sweet, stinging bliss.” He walked through the city, smelling all sorts of foods, hungry and delirious.
For Sal, there is a kind of universal wisdom that can be gained through a bout of madness and delirium.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
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