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On the Road

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

Madness Quotes Page 3

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #7

"He’s been awake all this time, listening. What were you thinking, Sal?" I told them that I was thinking they were very amazing maniacs and that I had spent the whole night listening to them like a man watching the mechanism of a watch that reached clear to the top of Berthoud Pass and yet was made with the smallest works of the most delicate watch in the world. They smiled. I pointed my finger at them and said, "If you keep this up you’ll both go crazy, but let me know what happens as you go along."(I.8.35)

Although Sal is drawn to the madness of Dean and Carlo, he is unable to participate himself.

Quote #8

Ray and Tim and I decided to hit the bars. Major was gone, Babe and Betty were gone. We tottered into the night. The opera crowd was jamming the bars from bar to wall. Major was shouting above heads. The eager, bespectacled Denver D. Doll was shaking hands with everybody and saying, "Good afternoon, how are you?" and when midnight came he was saying, "Good afternoon, how are you?" At one point I saw him going off somewhere with a dignitary. Then he came back with a middle-aged woman; next minute he was talking to a couple of young ushers in the street. The next minute he was shaking my hand without recognizing me and saying, "Happy New Year, m’boy." He wasn’t drunk on liquor, just drunk on what he liked - crowds of people milling. Everybody knew him. "Happy New Year," he called, and sometimes "Merry Christmas." He said this all the time. At Christmas he said Happy Halloween. (I.9.17)

While Sal and Dean seek to overcome the boundaries of time, Sal sees madness in a character who mixes up time.

Quote #9

At dawn I found Carlo. I read some of his enormous journal, slept there, and in the morning, drizzly and gray, tall, six-foot Ed Dunkel came in with Roy Johnson, a handsome kid, and Tom Snark, the clubfooted poolshark. They sat around and listened with abashed smiles as Carlo Marx read them his apocalyptic, mad poetry. I slumped in my chair, finished. "Oh ye Denver birds!" cried Carlo. (I.10.14)

Sal sees madness in the written word, such as Carlo’s poetry. What Dean does in action, Carlo does in words.

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