On the Road
How we cite our quotes:
"Since Denver, Sal, a lot of things - Oh, the things - I’ve thought and thought. I used to be in reform school all the time, I was a young punk, asserting myself - stealing cars a psychological expression of my position, hincty to show. All my jail-problems are pretty straight now. As far as I know I shall never be in jail again. The rest is not my fault." (II.3.10)
Dean discusses his own criminal past as the result of his upbringing. He doesn’t take personal responsibility for it.
Shortly after this, as we pulled out of Washington, a cruising car overtook us with siren going and we had a speeding ticket in spite of the fact that we were going about thirty. It was the California license plate that did it. "You guys think you can rush through here as fast as you want just because you come from California?" said the cop. (II.3.11)
On the Road portrays cops as vindictive and abusive of their power.
I could hear Dean, blissful and blabbering and frantically rocking. Only a guy who’s spent five years in jail can go to such maniacal helpless extremes; beseeching at the portals of the soft source, mad with a completely physical realization of the origins of life-bliss; blindly seeking to return the way he came. This is the result of years looking at sexy pictures behind bars; looking at the legs and breasts of women in popular magazines; evaluating the hardness of the steel halls and the softness of the woman who is not there. Prison is where you promise yourself the right to live. Dean had never seen his mother’s face. Every new girl, every new wife, every new child was an addition to his bleak impoverishment. (II.5.14)
Just as Dean blamed his criminal past on his upbringing, Sal uses Dean’s criminal past as an explanation for Dean’s madness and lust.