© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
On the Road

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Part 2, Chapter 4 Summary

  • New Year’s Eve, 1948. Ed tells the story of the last New Year’s Eve when he saw his dead mother in a vision. Happens all the time.
  • Sal wants to know what Ed’s plans are. Plans? Who has plans? Just dig life.
  • Sal is apparently having visions of a Shrouded Traveler (Arabian) chasing him across a desert that will catch him before he reaches heaven. Dean thinks, (and Sal agrees in retrospect) that it’s the longing for death.
  • They chill out with this cat named Tom Saybrook who thinks these other cats (Dean, Carlo) are pretty cool. Sal explains that they’re from the West.
  • Lucille (that girl Sal is thinking about marrying) doesn’t like his friends. Mm-hmm.
  • OK get this: Marylou hits on Sal to make Lucille jealous, so Lucille goes out in a car with Dean (although he’s the one that invited her), but all they do is drink booze and talk. Oh, and Lucille is married and has a little girl.
  • Sal explains why he and Lucille won't work out: "She wanted me to be her way […] Lucille would never understand me because I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."
  • Crazy New Year’s Eve partying follows.
  • They end up with Rollo Greb at his house on Long Island. He’s a mad scholar, excited and in ecstasy about life, like Dean. Dean totally digs Rollo, because Rollo "knows time" and reminds him of a famous jazz pianist.
  • Dean proceeds to reminisce about the pianist, how he dug him in a concert, how they had a connection, and Dean thought of him as God.
  • Sal thinks everything is the coolest thing he’s ever seen is his life, and believes he knows the secret of the world. But then he realizes he’s just high.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement