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Big Sur

Big Sur


by Jack Kerouac

Big Sur Transformation Quotes

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

Quote #1

So I had sneaked into San Francisco as I say, coming 3000 miles from my home in Long Island (Northport) in a pleasant roomette on the California Zephyr train watching America roll by outside my private picture window, really happy for the first time in three years, staying in the roomette all three days and three nights with my instant coffee and sandwiches (1.1)

Some things never change – just like we saw in On the Road, Jack is only happy when he's moving from one place to the next.

Quote #2

(all over America high school and college kids thinking "Jack Duluoz is 26 years old and on the road all the time hitch hiking" while there I am almost 40 years old, bored and jaded in a roomette bunk crashin across that Salt Flat) (1.1)

This is one of the most important thematic notes in Big Sur, and we get it in parentheses. Kerouac makes excellent use of parenthetical asides in much of the novel – keep an eye out for them next time you read the novel.

Quote #3

In fact, flying silently around my lamplit cabin at 3 o'clock in the morning as I'm reading (of all things) (shudder) Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde -- Small wonder maybe that I myself turned from serene Jekyll to hysterical Hyde in the short space of six weeks, losing absolute control of the peace mechanisms of my mind for the first time in my life. (5.1)

It seems we can track two major transformations for Jack. One comes within the context of Big Sur when he changes from the nervous-but-stable man in the first chapter to the insane man in the final one. The second transformation occurs on a broader spectrum: the Sal Paradise in On the Road evolves to Jack Duluoz in Big Sur.

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