How we cite our quotes:
I've got the directions all memorized from a little map Monsanto's mailed me but in my imagination dreaming about this big retreat back home there'd been something larkish, bucolic, all homely woods and gladness instead of all this aerial roaring mystery in the dark. (3.1)
Much of Big Sur has to do with the rift between imagined ideals and reality – from Big Sur to Jack and his public "Beat" persona.
The road's up there on the wall a thousand feet with a sheer drop sometimes, […] And worst of all is the bridge! I go ambling seaward along the path by the creek and see this awful thin white line of bridge a thousand unbridgeable sighs of height above the little woods. (4.1)
Big Sur is an appropriate setting for Jack's tale – he's teetering on the edge of madness, as he indicates with various "signposts" throughout the novel.
In August a horrible development took place, huge blasts of frightening gale like wind came pouring into the canyon making all the trees roar with a really frightening intensity that sometimes built up to a booming war of trees that shook the cabin and woke you up -- And was in fact one of the things that contributed to my mad fit. (6.5)
Jack's constant allusions to his mad fit actually give the novel its structure – we're heading towards a definite climax in our plot.