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On the Road

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

Contrasting Regions Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see the country, always vaguely planning and never taking off. (I.1.1)

Part of Dean’s appeal to Sal surely arises from his origin; Sal is interested in the adventures of the West, and Dean arrives as the embodiment of that region.

Quote #2

My first impression of Dean was of a young Gene Autry - trim, thin-hipped, blue-eyed, with a real Oklahoma accent - a side burned hero of the snowy West. In fact he’d just been working on a ranch, Ed Wall’s in Colorado, before marrying Marylou and coming East. (I.1.4)

Sal’s description of Dean as a "hero" is necessarily tied to his conceptions of the West. For Sal, heroes exist only in the West, not in the East.

Quote #3

But Dean’s intelligence was every bit as formal and shining and complete, without the tedious intellectualness. And his "criminality" was not something that sulked and sneered; it was a wild yea- saying overburst of American joy; it was Western, the west wind, an ode from the Plains, something new, long prophesied, long a-coming (he only stole cars for joy rides). (1.1.16)

Sal identifies "American joy" as a Western element, but is soon disillusioned to find American sadness there instead.

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