On the Road
by Jack Kerouac
On the Road Poverty Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)
"We’ll just pick him up for kicks!" Dean laughed. The man was a ragged, bespectacled mad type, walking along reading a paperbacked muddy book he’d found in a culvert by the road. He got in the car and went right on reading; he was incredibly filthy and covered with scabs. He said his name was Hyman Solomon and that he walked all over the USA, knocking and sometimes kicking at Jewish doors and demanding money: "Give me money to eat, I am a Jew." (II.6.9)
Sal allows us to see many different faces of poverty in the characters he meets on the road.
Poor Bull came home in his Texas Chevy and found his house invaded by maniacs; but he greeted me with a nice warmth I hadn’t seen in him for a long time. He had bought this house in New Orleans with some money he had made growing black-eyed peas in Texas with an old college schoolmate whose father, a mad-paretic, had died and left a fortune. Bull himself only got fifty dollars a week from his own family, which wasn’t too bad except that he spent almost that much per week on his drug habit - and his wife was also expensive, gobbling up about ten dollars’ worth of benny tubes a week. Their food bill was the lowest in the country; they hardly ever ate; nor did the children - they didn’t seem to care. (II.6.32)
It becomes apparent to Sal that poverty is linked with drug abuse.
At Sonora I again helped myself to free bread and cheese while the proprietor chatted with a big rancher on the other side of the store. Dean huzzahed when he heard it; he was hungry. We couldn’t spend a cent on food. (II.8.18)
To Sal and Dean, motion is so important that they are willing to go hungry in order to keep traveling.