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On the Road

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

Madness Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #40

It was remarkable how Dean could go mad and then suddenly continue with his soul - which I think is wrapped up in a fast car, a coast to reach, and a woman at the end of the road - calmly and sanely as though nothing had happened. "I get like that every time in Denver now - I can’t make that town any more. Gookly, gooky, Dean’s a spooky. Zoom!" (III.9.6)

Sal seeks to understand Dean’s madness, but recognizes that doing so isn’t completely possible.

Quote #41

At intermissions we rushed out in the Cadillac and tried to pick up girls all up and down Chicago. They were frightened of our big, scarred, prophetic car. In his mad frenzy Dean backed up smack on hydrants and tittered maniacally. By nine o’clock the car was an utter wreck; the brakes weren’t working any more; the fenders were stove in; the rods were rattling. Dean couldn’t stop it at red lights, it kept kicking convulsively over the roadway. It had paid the price of the night. It was a muddy boot and no longer a shiny limousine. (III.10.7)

The destructiveness of Dean’s madness is evident in the physical destruction of the car.

Quote #42

By this time Dean was so exhausted and out of his mind that everything he saw delighted him. He was reaching another pious frenzy. He sweated and sweated. The moment we were in the new Chrysler and off to New York the poor man realized he had contracted a ride with two maniacs, but he made the best of it and in fact got used to us just as we passed Briggs Stadium and talked about next year’s Detroit Tigers. (III.11.3)

Sal sees Dean’s madness as akin to religious fervor. What exactly Dean is worshipping, however, is unclear.

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