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On the Road

On the Road


by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Part 2, Chapter 8 Summary

  • Chapter Eight opens with another famous quotation: "What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till their specks dispersing?—it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-by. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."
  • They pass the Mississippi River and steal some more things for the road.
  • They stop in a scary, swampy area, turn the lights off, and try to freak each other out.
  • When they get to Texas, Dean tells stories about his Houston days (sex, heroin, sex, poetry, alcohol, sleeping pills, sex).
  • Sal takes a turn driving and almost hits a car full of drunken fieldworkers going the wrong way. By means of an apology, the fieldworkers ask for directions. Actually, that’s why they were driving the wrong way – to get Sal to pull his car over.
  • Stuck in the mud. It totally sucks for about two paragraphs.
  • It snows, but everything will be OK once they get to San Francisco. Or if they were back in New Orleans.
  • They have no money for food, so they keep stealing it along the way.
  • Dean gets naked at one point. So Marylou and Sal get naked, too. In the car, while they’re driving. Then Marylou rubs ice cream on the men’s naked bodies. We are not kidding.
  • Sal sleeps while Dean and Marylou have sex.
  • Dean gets excited when he hears a radio program he used to listen to in prison.
  • They briefly consider pimping out Marylou.
  • Dean goes off with some guy he met in the bus station to drink.
  • Marylou and Sal are left alone. They talk about her being sad. And then...Dean comes back.
  • Sal watches Marylou watching Dean and decides she’s in love with Dean, but knows she can’t really have him because he’s "too mad."
  • Dean picks up hitchhikers like stray cats. This one has a crippled hand.
  • They go out of their way to drive to Arizona...to borrow five dollars from one of Sal’s old friends that lives there.
  • Sal pawns his watch (interesting!) for gas money; a cop finds the trio to be suspicious and pulls out his gun.
  • Dean charms the cop and everything is fine.

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