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On the Road

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

Madness Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #34

It wasn’t anything much, we were just I talking, except that suddenly we saw a very strange and insane sight. It was Dean. He wanted to give Roy Johnson the I address of the bar, so he told him to hold the phone a minute and ran out to see, and to do this he had to rush pellmell through a long bar of brawling drinkers in white shirtsleeves, go to the middle of the street, and look at the post signs. He did this, crouched low to the ground like Groucho Marx, his feet carrying him with amazing swiftness out of the bar, like an apparition, with his balloon thumb stuck up in the night, and came to a whirling stop in the middle of the road, looking everywhere above him for the signs. They were hard to see in the dark, and he spun a dozen times in the road, thumb upheld, in a wild, anxious silence, a wild-haired person with a ballooning thumb held up like a great goose of the sky, spinning and spinning in the dark, the other hand distractedly inside his pants. Ed Fournier was saying, "I blow a sweet tone wherever I go and if people don’t like it ain’t nothin I can do about it. Say, man, that buddy of yours is a crazy cat, looka him over there" - and we looked. There was a big silence everywhere as Dean saw the signs and rushed back in the bar, practically going under someone’s legs as they came out and gliding so fast through the bar that everybody had to do a double take to see him. (III.3.40)

Dean’s madness is often related to motion – a need to move, to go, to act.

Quote #35

"When Ed gets back I’m going to take him to Jamson’s Nook every night and let him get his fill of madness. Do you think that’ll work, Sal? I don’t know what to do." (III.3.47)

Sal is the only male character who sees the effect of the men’s madness on their women.

Quote #36

The people in the back seat sighed with relief. I heard them -whispering mutiny. "We can’t let him drive any more, he’s absolutely crazy, they must have let him out of an asylum or something."

I rose to Dean’s defense and leaned back to talk to them. "He’s not crazy, he’ll be all right, and don’t worry about his driving, he’s the best in the world." (III.5.8, III.5.9)

Although Sal recognizes Dean’s madness, he hides it from others to protect his friend.

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