On the Road
How we cite our quotes:
I said, "Goddammit, Remi, you’re always getting us into trouble. Why don’t you lay off? Why do you have to steal all the time?"
"The world owes me a few things, that’s all. You can’t teach the old maestro a new tune." (I.11.59, I.11.60)
Remi’s character serves to justify stealing – or at least to attempt such a justification. His repeated phrase "you can’t teach an old maestro a new tune" is an interesting statement to apply to Dean.
The barracks cafeteria was our meat. We looked around to make sure nobody was watching, and especially to see if any of our cop friends were lurking about to check on us; then I squatted down, and Remi put a foot on each shoulder and up he went. He opened the window, which was never locked since he saw to it in the evenings, scrambled through, and came down on the flour table. I was a little more agile and just jumped and crawled in. Then we went to the soda fountain. Here, realizing a dream of mine from infancy, I took the cover off the chocolate ice cream and stuck my hand in wrist-deep and hauled me up a skewer of ice cream and licked at it. Then we got ice- cream boxes and stuffed them, poured chocolate syrup over and sometimes strawberries too, then walked around in the kitchens, opened iceboxes, to see what we could take home in our pockets. I often tore off a piece of roast beef and wrapped it in a napkin. "You know what President Truman said," Remi would say. "We must cut down on the cost of living." ((I.11.62)
Remi’s thievery becomes a commentary on American – a mockery of the President and a satire of his intended goals.
"You know what President Truman said?" She was delighted. I suddenly began to realize that everybody in America is a natural-born thief. I was getting the bug myself. I even began to try to see if doors were locked. The other cops were getting suspicious of us; they saw it in our eyes; they understood with unfailing instinct what was on our minds. Years of experience had taught them the likes of Remi and me. (I.11.69)
Sal likens himself to Remi through thievery, yet he later refuses to take part in Dean’s (when Dean steals cars in Denver). Granted, there is a difference between bags of food and cars, but for some reason Dean is on a pedestal an Remi is relatable.