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On the Road

On the Road


by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Part 1, Chapter 3 Summary

  • The narrator is getting low on money. And it’s been…one day.
  • Jazz! Really sexy, chaotic jazz in Chicago that reminds him off his friends.
  • He’s so excited about Chicago that he…leaves the next day on yet another bus. Of course, everything will be OK when he gets to Denver. Hmm…
  • He hitches a ride with an older woman who lets him drive. He gets to see the Mississippi River.
  • He gets stranded in small-town Iowa, which, if you have your pick, isn’t the greatest place to be stranded.
  • A slightly psychotic looking truck driver picks him up and offers him a ride and, thankfully, doesn’t expect the narrator to talk to him or entertain him in any way.
  • Our narrator switches to another truck driver. Same deal.
  • He hitches a ride with some college boys that talk about exams, of all things.
  • The narrator ends up at a hotel and wakes up with that feeling you get when you don’t know where you are and you really just want your teddy bear.
  • He enjoys watching girls. Um, high school girls. Oops.
  • Everything is going to be OK when he gets to Denver, where everyone (Carlo, Dean, Chad, and lots other cool cats) is hanging out.
  • He meets an Irish hitchhiker who is most likely a criminal on the run.
  • They try to hitchhiker together. They also get drunk together. These things seem to go hand in hand. He’s enthusiastic, this Irish guy, which the narrator likes.
  • They get on a bus together.
  • They meet some cowboys and decide to join them in driving two cars to Montana.
  • Eddie (that’s the name of the Irish guy) is the craziest driver ever. And by craziest we mean ninety-miles-an-hour in a TRACTOR AND SHOELESS PEDESTRIAN zone.
  • The narrator makes it clear that he likes people who are enthusiastic and talk, or tell great stories.
  • In a diner, the narrator watches a wild, laughing cowboy across the room who he deems "the spirit of the West."’
  • They get stranded in Shelton, and Eddie recalls that he has been here before.
  • A policeman stops them to ask if "You boys going to get somewhere, or just going?" Hmm! What an interesting question…Or as the narrator says, "It was a damned good question."
  • Turns out he’s not a policeman, but a guy trying to get them to work at a carnival.
  • They say "nah," essentially.
  • A car stops for them but can only take one passenger. Eddie jumps in without a word, like an oh-so-loyal friend, wearing the shirt the narrator gave him to keep warm. Grrr.
  • An uninteresting fellow drives him farther.

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