On the Road

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On the Road Part 3, Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Dean answered the front door completely naked and welcomed Sal inside, where they talked. Camille was upset, as she knew that the arrival of Sal meant Dean would likely go on the road and leave her again.
Dean’s habit of nudity continues. Camille realizes that Sal’s arrival means Dean will likely abandon her again for his own freedom on the road.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Dean filled Sal in on what had been happening in San Francisco. Dean had “gone crazy over Marylou again,” and spied on her as she had a different man every night at her apartment. One day, he smoked too much uncured marijuana and went through various states of intoxication for days. On the third day, he had a series of waking nightmares, and he went to see Marylou. Dean told Sal that he loved Marylou so much he had wanted to kill her.
Dean is unable to settle down and commit to one woman, apparently. His drug use and eccentric madness here shows its ugly side, as he becomes dangerous. His earlier misogyny directed against Marylou threatens to become seriously violent.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Dean barged into Marylou’s apartment with a gun and gave it to her, telling her to shoot him. She refused. Dean told Sal that Marylou was now married to a car salesman. Dean had an injured thumb from hitting Marylou, which had gotten worse and worse so that he essentially had a lame hand.
Dean’s mad life seems to be taking a toll on him now, both mentally and physically. For the second time, Dean abuses Marylou physically.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Dean told Sal about all the medicines he had to take because of his thumb and its complications (it had gotten infected), and other doctor’s appointments he had to go to. He told Sal about his daughter and congratulated him on finishing his book.
Sal was able to finish his book while taking some time off from the road. Dean is getting older and his reckless behavior is slowly beginning to catch up with him in his health.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
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The next morning, Camille came into the house, saw Dean and Sal with another friend, and threw Dean out of the house. As Camille and Dean were fighting, Sal saw a painting of Galatea on the wall and realized that Galatea and Camille were friends. He imagined them complaining to each other about “the madness of the men.”
Camille has had enough of Dean disregarding her in favor of his friends and his obsession with a free, eccentric life. Sal imagines Galatea and Camille talking together because they are both female victims of the male selfishness exhibited by Dean and Ed.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
Dean was still his enthusiastic self after getting thrown out, but Sal saw how badly Dean was doing. He suggested they go to New York and then Italy together. Dean just stared at Sal and Sal says that this “was probably the most pivotal point of our friendship,” because Dean realized that Sal had thought about his problems and wanted to help him. Finally, Dean agreed to go to Italy.
Sal has long been chasing after Dean and looking up to him. But now things begin to shift, as it is Sal who must help Dean out of a difficult point in his life. Sal’s solution to their troubles is to hit the road again on a trip al the way to New York and beyond.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon