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On the Road

On the Road


by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Part 2, Chapter 3 Summary

  • They end up at Sal's Aunt’s house, and receive a call from Old Bull Lee who’s chilling out in New Orleans.
  • Remember the girl they ditched on the road (Galatea Dunkel)? And how they treated her like a complete tool? Well she’s there with Old Bull Lee, calling to make sure that Ed is doing well and is happy. Sal thinks she's "a tenacious loser."
  • Camille calls for Dean. What are they running, an international whorehouse? Someone asks that, we didn’t make it up.
  • Carlo shows up, all brooding and with his poetry. He’s been in Dakar.
  • They all sit around on the floor and Carlo asks them about the meaning of life. Well, he asks them about why they’re doing whatever it is they’re doing.
  • They don’t know what else to do, so they decide to go. Sal’s aunt comes, too.
  • Dean and Sal switch off at the wheel and make it to Virginia in ten hours.
  • Dean talks about God the whole way – how he simply has to exist and how they "know time." Hmmm. He’s talking like a crazy person, or a sane person on a lot of drugs.
  • Sal lets us know that he himself drives slowly and carefully.
  • Sal remarks in retrospect that this craziness and talk of God is the beginning of Dean’s "mysticism" which will later lead into his saintly phase.
  • Speeding ticket. Bummer. And it was the one time when they weren’t actually speeding.
  • Sal’s aunt is totally awesome and gives the cop a good talking to. She also pays for the speeding ticket.
  • Sal comments on how his aunt has nothing to be ashamed of, but Dean and Sal do. Hmm.
  • This transitions strangely into talk of men and women – that men should ask for forgiveness (Sal’s aunt says this), that Marylou shouldn’t be such a hassle (that was Dean), and that no one actually understands women (Sal, of course).

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