On the Road

On the Road

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On the Road Part 2, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day, Dean was helping Bull salvage a piece of wood for a shelf. As he practiced throwing knives at a target, Bull shared some of his quasi-conspiracy theories with Sal, about how the government deliberately keeps safer tires, gum that prevents cavities forever, and clothes that last forever from the public.
Bull continues to be characterized as an odd figure standing outside and against most of society, complete with conspiracy theories about how the government is keeping things from everyday people.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Bull told Sal some odd stories about his aunt, a man with a brain disease that made him somewhat crazy, his cats, and his Portuguese neighbors. Bull told Sal to try his “orgone accumulator,” a big box with a chair inside that accumulates orgones, “vibratory atmospheric atoms of the life-principle.”
Bull’s bizarre orgone accumulator is further evidence of his eccentric madness, which is at the foundation of his friendship with Sal.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Bull and Sal went to the horse races. One horse’s name (Big Pop) reminded Sal of his father, but Bull bet on a different horse. Big Pop won and Bull said they should have paid attention to Sal’s “vision.” On the ride back from the races, Bull told Sal his belief that the living are in contact with the dead, but that scientists simply don’t understand the mutation in the brain that happens upon death.
Bull shares more of his odd beliefs with Sal. The absence of Sal’s father, brought up by the name Big Pop, points to a broader absence of family and father figures for Sal and his friends. In order to fill the void left by their lack of family, they form tight-knit bonds of friendship.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Back at Bull’s place, Sal, Dean, and Ed played basketball and then “turned to feats of athletic prowess.” Then, Sal, Dean, and Ed went into New Orleans, hopping onto a freight train on the way. Bull and Jane were beginning to get sick of all the company at their house, and when Sal got his G.I. check he decided to leave. He, Dean, and Marylou drove off toward California.
Sal, Dean, and Ed have enjoyed their time in New Orleans, but not as much as they enjoy being on the road. As with most any location in the novel, Sal can only stay with friends here for so long before they get sick of each other and the journey must continue on.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
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