From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Big Sur

Big Sur

  

by Jack Kerouac

Big Sur Spirituality Quotes

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

Quote #4

If someone's to ask him "Let's drive to New York" he'd jump right for it without a word -- On a sort of a pilgrimage, see, with all that youth, us old fucks oughta take a lesson from him, in faith too, he has faith, I can see it in his eyes, he has faith in any direction he may take with anyone just like Christ I guess. " (14.3)

Jack finds God in the strangest of places – from the sacred mule to the pool shark teenager.

Quote #5

My old thoughts about the silt of a billion years covering all this and all cities and generations eventually is just a dumb old thought, "Only a silly sober fool could think it, imagine gloating over such nonsense" (because in one sense the drinker learns wisdom, in the words of Goethe or Blake or whichever it was "The pathway to wisdom lies through excess') – But in this condition you can only say "Wisdom is just another way to make people sick" (21.15)

Until the novel's climax, Jack's delirium tremens convince him that his spiritual and literary pursuits have been fruitless. He must discover something in the final fit at Big Sur that leads to his conclusion that "there's no need to say another word."

Quote #6

And by God their little sweet five year old girl who is such a pleasant sight to see as she goes jongling and jiggling through the fields to look for flowers, everything to her is perfectly new beautiful primordial Garden of Eden morning here in this tortured human canyon (23.1)

Even in his delirious despair, Jack can still find beauty – and spirituality (hence the Garden of Eden reference) in the innocence of a little girl. This is consistent with Sal and Dean's behavior in On the Road; remember the little Indian girl in Mexico?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement