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On the Road

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Part 2, Chapter 1 Summary

  • It’s a year later. Nothing interesting (read: Dean-related) happened in the meantime.
  • Sal writes Dean a letter and sends it to San Francisco. Dean shows up about a week later on Sal’s doorstep in New York. Or rather, his brother’s doorstep in the midst of a family gathering.
  • He has Marylou and a friend named Ed Dunkel with him.
  • Wait a minute, you’re thinking, I thought he divorced Marylou to get with Camille? Yes. Yes, he did.
  • Dean has been working on the railroad and actually saving the money he made to buy the car he drove to New York in.
  • Sal starts to think Marylou looks hot, possibly because she hasn’t been sleeping.
  • So here’s the story: Ed married this girl named Galatea so that she would pay for them all to go to New York and see Sal. They picked up a mother and her mentally retarded child who Dean had a great time with. When Galatea ran out of money, they ditched her.
  • But how did Dean get back with Marylou? On a whim. A whim followed by ten hours in a hotel room. Because really, she’s the only woman he ever loved.
  • Incidentally, Dean is a ninety-miles-an-hour kind of guy.
  • Sal realizes two things: first, his family thinks Dean is absolutely crazy, and second, that Dean has gotten a lot crazier since they last met.
  • Dean drives (wildly) and ruminates (wildly) about his (wild) past which he’s totally digging. Or which he dug, at the time.
  • He does everything frantically, with a concern for time and mad, constant movement.
  • Sal muses on the difference between his quiet, family life and the bright-lights-flashing musical that is Dean Moriarty. Then he prepares to head on the road – again.

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