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On the Road

On the Road


by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Part 1, Chapter 11 Summary

  • Sal finally goes to meet Remi Boncoeur, the guy in San Francisco, but is two weeks late doing it.
  • Every will be OK once he gets to San Francisco.
  • Sal gets to San Francisco! He’s totally digging it, but things won’t be great until he meets up with Remi.
  • Turns out Sal’s last name is Paradise. So Sal Paradise finds Remi sleeping in bed, with his girlfriend next to him.
  • Hey, Kerouac! Want to explain the story with Remi here?
  • So the story with Remi is this: they met at prep school, when Sal used to sleep too much, and Remi was dating this girl that Sal stole and later married. Now they’re divorced, Sal and his wife. Remember?
  • Remi also dresses sharp (the 50s version of a popped collar), spends a lot of money, and likes a lot of "fancy blondes."
  • He seems to have this problem with spending more money than he’s got. Sounds like some other people we know…
  • The couple (Remi and Lee Ann) like to yell at each other a lot.
  • Remi is unbelievably excited to see Sal. He laughs and screams and laughs.
  • There’s this black man, Mr. Snow, who lives next door and has the greatest laugh in the world.
  • Remi’s like, "hey, don’t sleep with my girl like you did last time."
  • Lee Ann wants to marry a rich man...no one is exactly sure why she’s with Remi. Oh, right, it’s because she thought for a minute that he was rich. Oops.
  • Sal takes up residence on their cot and starts writing a little story for Hollywood.
  • He writes one, but it’s too sad.
  • Since the story didn’t work out, Sal becomes a guard – a sort-of policeman in a barracks-style housing for workers. He also gets a gun from Remi.
  • His job as a guard is to keep these drunk, shifty men from tearing down the barracks walls.
  • Naturally, Sal is just as drunk as the drunk, shifty men he’s supposed to be policing.
  • Sal raises the American Flag – but upside-down. This enrages the other guards, who apparently sit around all day wanting to shoot someone.
  • Sal gets into a routine of being lenient and dissing the cops that are stern; the bad cops complain about Sal for not being a jerk to the drunk people.
  • Remi wants to teach a dog to steal money.
  • Remi is really into stealing, and almost gets in trouble trying to steal from their supervisor, whom he calls "Dostioffski" in an attempt to reference Dostoevsky.
  • Sal muses on Remi, how he’s had so much taken from him and how he’s really just a little boy.
  • They partake in some self-indulgent eating of the barracks' food.
  • Sal suddenly realizes (or rather, we are suddenly told) that he has been doing this barracks business for ten weeks.
  • They steal so much food, and everybody gets so excited, that Sal realizes everyone loves stealing.
  • Remi takes Sal into the city to see the Banana King (read: dude that sells bananas), which Sal finds about as exciting as watching grass grow.
  • They find a potentially haunted ship, which Sal suggests he might spend a spooky night sleeping on.
  • Sal’s getting a hard-on about Lee Ann, who’s lying around naked.
  • Sal keeps going to the city to try to get laid, fails, and gets hit on by gay men instead until he pulls out a gun.
  • Sal identifies his current feeling: restlessness. Everything will be OK once he leaves San Francisco.
  • They go to a racetrack, lose all their money, and hitchhike home. Remi finds the whole thing rib-bustingly hilarious.
  • Sal has been a good boy, sending money to his aunt every week.
  • Lee Ann ponders the fact that they have absolutely no money, then ponders some more and decides to leave Remi. Or rather, to kick him out because that’s easier.
  • Remi says fine, be that way, but first can you both pretend our lives are awesome because I want to impress my stepfather.
  • Dinner with Remi's stepfather is going well until Roland Major, who is "crocked" at the time, happens to run into them and ruin the whole distinguished angle they were shooting for.
  • Sal gives up and gets hammered, ruining both the evening and his friendship with Remi.
  • Sal identifies the problem with continually moving west – at some point, you run into an ocean and you just can’t go any further.
  • He also muses on the difference between the East Coast (holy) and the West (empty), and wonders where is this perfect girl he’s been looking for.

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