On the Road
by Jack Kerouac
On the Road Madness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)
We stumbled over one another to get out of the cab at the roadhouse, a hillbilly roadhouse near the hills, and went in and ordered beers. Everything was collapsing, and to make things inconceivably more frantic there was an ecstatic spastic fellow in the bar who threw his arms around Dean and moaned in his face, and Dean went mad again with sweats and insanity, and to add still more to the unbearable confusion Dean rushed out the next moment and stole a car right from the driveway and took a dash to downtown Denver and came back with a newer, better one. [...] All the bitterness and madness of his entire Denver life was blasting out of his system like daggers. His face was red and sweaty and mean. (III.7.14)
Sal earlier related Dean’s madness to his criminal past, and here the act of theft brings about madness in Dean – or vice versa, with his madness driving him to theft and the ways of his youth.
"Well, it’s about time!" said the Broadway Sam travel-bureau boss. "I thought you’d gone off with that Cadillac."
"It’s my responsibility," I said, "don’t worry" - and said that because Dean was in such obvious frenzy everybody could guess his madness. (III.8.9, III.8.10)
Because of Dean’s madness, Sal is forced to take control and responsibility.
"Is he your brother?" the boys asked in the back seat. "He’s a devil with a car, isn’t he? - and according to his story he must be with the women."
"He’s mad," I said, "and yes, he’s my brother." I saw Dean coming back with the farmer in his tractor. (III.8.14, III.8.15)
Sal confesses Dean’s madness as though it is a simple fact, an element of his character, just like hair or eye color.