Analysis: What's Up With the Title?
Big Sur is a coastal region of central California, featuring mountains at the edge of the sea. The result is a beautiful but terrifying series of cliffs that drop straight down into the ocean, a little bit like this. In the novel, narrator Jack Duluoz (alter ego for Jack Kerouac) takes three trips to Big Sur to stay in the cabin of his friend, Lorenzo Monsanto (alter ego for Lawrence Ferlinghetti). This physical setting has metaphorical and thematic implications for the novel as a whole, which we talk about in detail in our discussion of "Setting."