by Jack Kerouac
Big Sur Drugs and Alcohol Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Me drunk practically all the time to put on a jovial cap to keep up with all this but finally realizing I was surrounded and outnumbered and had to get away to solitude again or die. (1.1)
Jack claims he drinks to keep up appearances – to keep himself "jovial" – but we soon find that this isn't really the case. Drinking makes Jack retreat further from social scenes.
That feeling when you wake up with the delirium tremens with the fear of eerie death dripping from your ears like those special heavy cobwebs spiders weave in the hot countries, the feeling of being a bent back mudman monster groaning underground in hot steaming mud pulling a long hot burden nowhere, the feeling of standing ankledeep in hot boiled pork blood, ugh, of being up to your waist in a giant pan of greasy brown dishwater not a trace of suds left in it... The face of yourself you see in the mirror with its expression of unbearable anguish so haggard and awful with sorrow you cant even cry for a thing so ugly, so lost, no connection whatever with early perfection and therefore nothing to connect with tears or anything (2.1)
Much of the sickness Jack feels after drinking has to do with identity, with reconciling the morning-after alcoholic with the way he sees himself.
We all agree it's too big to keep up with, that we're surrounded by life, that we'll never understand it, so we center it all in by swigging Scotch from the bottle and when it's empty I run out of the car and buy another one, period. (12.4)
Jack's attempt at escape is very much tied to feeling overwhelmed by all the literature, people, and potential and activity of the world.