On the Road

On the Road

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On the Road Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Sal, Ed, Dean, and Marylou went to Sal’s house in Paterson and slept there. The next day, Sal got a phone call from Old Bull Lee, in New Orleans, who said that someone named Galatea Dunkel had come to his house looking for Ed. Galatea got on the phone and Sal told her that Ed was with them and they’d pick her up in New Orleans on the way back west.
Sal and his friends having so much fun and living freely has a flip-side, represented by Galatea. Ed has only found his freedom by abandoning Galatea.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Sal got another call from Camille, in San Francisco, looking for Dean. Dean called her back, while Sal called Carlo Marx and told him to come over. Carlo came, bringing his poetry. He had spent time in Dakar, Senegal, where a witch-doctor told him his fortune. Carlo asked Sal and Dean what reason they were traveling for and then asked, “Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?”
Just like Ed, Dean gets a phone call from the woman he’s abandoned. Sal calls Carlo, who has been having his own odd adventures, reuniting his old group of friends. As his question suggests, Carlo sees the restlessness of Sal and Dean as emblematic of America as a whole.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
America Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Dean and Sal drove Carlo back into New York and then drove back down to Virginia to get more furniture and bring Sal’s aunt back to Paterson. Dean told Sal that he was certain God exists and then said, “Everything since the Greeks has been predicated wrong. You can’t make it with geometry and geometrical systems of thinking.”
Dean is full of opinions and eccentric ideas that he shares enthusiastically with Sal. His comments about God and his ideas that you can’t “make it” with geometry or that sort of thinking implies that he sees a random, non-rational life as the right way to connect with and understand God.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
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 New Jersey, with Sal’s aunt in the car, they got a speeding ticket. Dean had no money, so Sal’s aunt paid for it, so that Dean wouldn’t have to spend a night in jail. Sal says Dean surprisingly paid his aunt back a year and a half later.
Sal has always been interested in Dean’s oddness, but now it has turned into full-blown mysticism. Dean again has no regard for the law, but he is fortunate to have Sal’s aunt pay for his ticket.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
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Sal drove into Paterson at dawn to find Ed and Marylou smoking cigarettes in his aunt’s house, not having eaten since Sal and Dean left. Sal’s aunt bought some groceries and cooked everyone “a tremendous breakfast.”
Sal and his friends prize freedom and living their own lives, but at times seem like they can hardly take care of themselves. Sal’s aunt has to cook for them like they were children.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon