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Big Sur

Big Sur

by Jack Kerouac

Mortality Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

I've been sitting in that chair by that fishbowl for a week drinking and smoking and talking and now the goldfish are dead. (31.3)

Part of what scares Jack so much about death is its senselessness and its randomness. When he tries to find meaning or attribute blame, he comes up empty-handed.

Quote #8

"Remember when we were in East St Louis with George, and Jack you said you'd love those beautiful dancing girls if you knew they would live forever as beautiful as they are?" (31.7)

The idea of decay and death is ever-present in Big Sur. Knowing that things – people, animals, relationships – are going to end is a constant torment to Jack.

Quote #9

…the eyes of hope looking over the glare of the hood into the maw with its white line feeding in straight as an arrow, the lighting of fresh cigarettes, the buckling to lean forward to the next adventure something that's been going on in America ever since the covered wagons clocked the deserts in three months flat (33..1)

It's interesting that Jack's vision of America is such a dynamic one. This version of America fits well with concern over transience (the fleeting nature of life being one example).

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