On the Road

On the Road

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On the Road Part 3, Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Sal and Dean hitched a ride along with a tourist couple out of San Francisco with “a tall, thin fag,” in an “effeminate” car that Dean called a “fag Plymouth.” Dean and Sal talked excitedly in the car, first about the musicians they saw the previous night, then about various childhood memories of riding in cars, then about how excited they were to reach Denver.
Now that they’re on the road, Dean and Sal are filled with fresh excitement. While they disdain society and its restrictions, they themselves show their own prejudices here with their offensive descriptions of the gay man driving them.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
In Sacramento, the driver bought a hotel room and invited Sal and Dean up to the room. He propositioned them, and Dean tried to get him to give them money, but he wouldn’t. When they got back on the road, Dean drove for a while, speeding so dangerously that the other passengers were terrified.
Dean has no regard for speed limits or safety—his own or that of his passengers.
Themes
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Sal tried to assure the passengers that Dean was a good driver, but they insisted on someone else driving the rest of the way to Denver. Dean and Sal arrived in Denver at last, with an even longer journey ahead of them. Sal says that they didn’t mind this, though, because “the road is life.”
Sal and Dean have much wandering ahead of them. As Sal says, the road is life. This is true both literally—Sal spends most of his life on the road—and metaphorically, as life is itself a kind of journey.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon