| Quote #1
In those days he really didn’t know what he was talking about; that is to say, he was a young jailkid all hung-up on the wonderful possibilities of becoming a real intellectual, and he liked to talk in the tone and using the words, but in a jumbled way, that he had heard from "real intellectuals" - although, mind you, he wasn’t so naive as that in all other things, and it took him just a few months with Carlo Marx to become completely in there with all the terms and jargon. Nonetheless we understood each other on other levels of madness, and I agreed that he could stay at my house till he found a job and furthermore we agreed to go out West sometime. That was the winter of 1947. (I.1.7)
Dean and Sal’s friendship is based on madness. The question that follows is how does Sal and Dean's friendship evolve as Dean's madness evolves?
| Quote #2
And that was the night Dean met Carlo Marx. A tremendous thing happened when Dean met Carlo Marx. Two keen minds that they are, they took to each other at the drop of a hat. Two piercing eyes glanced into two piercing eyes - the holy con-man with the shining mind, and the sorrowful poetic con-man with the dark mind that is Carlo Marx. From that moment on I saw very little of Dean, and I was a little sorry too. Their energies met head-on, I was a lout compared, I couldn’t keep up with them. (I.1.11)
If Dean and Sal’s friendship is based on learning of the mind, then Carlo and Dean’s is based on a deeper soul connection, the kind that Sal ultimately looks for in a woman. In fact, Sal’s descriptions of Laura’s eyes mirror this description of "two piercing eyes."
| Quote #3
Yes, and it wasn’t only because I was a writer and needed new experiences that I wanted to know Dean more, and because my life hanging around the campus had reached the completion of its cycle and was stultified, but because, somehow, in spite of our difference in character, he reminded me of some long-lost brother; the sight of his suffering bony face with the long sideburns and his straining muscular sweating neck made me remember my boyhood in those dye-dumps and swimholes and riversides of Paterson and the Passaic. (I.1.16)
Sal repeatedly uses the word "brother" to describe Dean, suggesting a greater bond than mere friendship between them.