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On the Road

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Part 1, Chapter 4 Summary

  • The narrator gets on what he calls "the greatest ride of his life," a big flatbed truck driven by two farmers picking up every stray cat, and by cat we mean bum-looking hitchhiker, on the road.
  • The drivers don’t have much below the surface, but they’re friendly and "like everything."
  • The narrator doesn’t have money for a lot of food. He does, miraculously, have money for whisky.
  • They get drunk and watch the "wasteland" rangelands go by. Our narrator muses on the other people in the truck that travel constantly. There’s Montana Slim, who’s a little sketchy, and Mississippi Gene, who takes care of a little boy.
  • The narrator asks Slim if he knows someone named Big Slim, an old friend who aspired to be a bum and subsequently...became a bum.
  • The narrator’s shoes are criticized – for the second time – because they have built in holes or pores or something. They shoes are from Mexico, as though that explains everything.
  • Slim tries to pee over the edge of the truck and the driver swerves around, which is SO FUNNY.
  • Since the truck is going to start heading for LA, Slim and the narrator get off in Cheyenne.

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