On the Road

On the Road

On the Road Part 4, Chapter 1 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Sal made some money from selling his book and, when spring came, he felt the need to go. He decided to leave New York without Dean, who was working at a parking garage and living with Inez. Sal realized that he was doing with Inez exactly the same thing that he had done with Camille. Oddly, Inez and Camille talked on the phone often about “Dean’s eccentricities.”
Sal once again makes progress on his writing career while staying put at home. But he feels the call of the road once again. Camille and Inez apparently bond over having to endure the same inconsiderate behavior of Dean.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Writing Theme Icon
Privilege and Prejudice Theme Icon
One night, Sal and Dean were talking and Dean said it wouldn’t be so bad if they ended up as bums together. Dean mentioned that he had gotten in touch with his father, who was in jail in Seattle. He had plans to get his father an apartment in New York when he got out.
Dean doesn’t see a problem with wandering around his whole life, and wouldn’t mind doing so with his close friend Sal.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
One afternoon, Dean and Sal played baseball and basketball outside with some younger kids, who easily beat them. They had dinner at Sal’s aunt’s house and Dean paid Sal’s aunt back for the speeding ticket she had paid for so long ago.
Playing basketball with the young kids shows Dean and Sal how much they’ve aged, and how their energetic life on the road has taken a bit of a toll on them.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Sal told Dean that he hoped they’d grow old together with their families, living on the same street, and Dean agreed. Dean told Sal that Ed and Galatea had gotten back together. Dean and Sal look over some pictures of themselves and their friends and Sal realized that their kids would see these pictures and think that they “had lived smooth, well-ordered, stabilized-within-the-photo lives.”
Sal hopes he and Dean will remain friends forever. In his vision of the future, though, their life on the road gives way to a settled down existence with families. Sal imagines that his kids won’t realize how wild his life was. Perhaps this means that the older, settled people that Sal looks down on were once themselves young, eccentric, and free.
Themes
Freedom, Travel, and Wandering Theme Icon
Society, Norms, and Counterculture Theme Icon
Friendship Theme Icon
Get the entire On the Road LitChart as a printable PDF.
On the road.pdf.medium