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Big Sur

Big Sur


by Jack Kerouac

Big Sur Man and the Natural World Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

Pacific fury flashing on rocks that rise like gloomy sea shroud towers out of the cove, the bingbang cove with its seas booming inside caves and slapping out, the cities of seaweed floating up and down you can even see their dark leer in the phosphorescent seabeach nightlight. (5.5)

Look at the way Jack's mood is reflected in his word choice ("fury," "gloomy," "shroud"). His language serves as a reminder that the natural world is subject to interpretation in this novel. We're also reminded linguistically that the landscape is often more emotional than physical.

Quote #2

Who cant sleep like a log in a solitary cabin in the woods, you wake up in the late morning so refreshed and realizing the universe namelessly: the universe is an Angel -- But easy enough to say when you've had your escape from the gooky city turn into a success -- And it's finally only in the woods you get that nostalgia for "cities" at last, you dream of long gray journeys to cities where soft evenings'll unfold like Paris but never seeing how sickening it will be because of the primordial innocence of health and stillness in the wilds... So I tell myself "Be Wise. " (5.6)

Jack realizes that he's never happy where he is. In the city he longs for nature, and in nature he longs for the company of people in the city.

Quote #3

All kinds of strange and marvelous things like the weird Ripley situation of a huge tree that's fallen across a creek maybe 500 years ago and's made a bridge thereby. (6.4)

Big Sur is steeped in this kind of history. The vastness of the landscape and the concept of its ancient roots combine to make Jack insignificant, a "crumb of dust" as he'll later say.

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