On the Road
How we cite our quotes:
There was a lull when we came in. Gene and Blondey just stood there, looking at nobody; all they wanted was cigarettes. There were some pretty girls, too. And one of them made eyes at Blondey and he never saw it, and if he had he wouldn’t have cared, he was so sad and gone. (I.4.62)
Sal sees sadness in nearly all the characters he encounters on the road.
Flat on my back, I stared straight up at the magnificent firmament, glorying in the time I was making, in how far I had come from sad Bear Mountain after all, and tingling with kicks at the thought of what lay ahead of me in Denver - whatever, whatever it would be. And Mississippi Gene began to sing a song. He sang it in a melodious, quiet voice, with a river accent, and it was simple, just "I got a purty little girl, she’s sweet six-teen, she’s the purti-est thing you ever seen," repeating it with other lines thrown in, all concerning how far he’d been and how he wished he could go back to her but he done lost her.
I said, "Gene, that’s the prettiest song."
"It’s the sweetest I know," he said with a smile.
"I hope you get where you’re going, and be happy when you do."
"I always make out and move along one way or the other." (I.4.63-I.4.67)
Instead of seeing the hope in Gene’s song, Sal sees sadness and loss.
Slim was dozing on a bench. I sat down. The floors of bus stations are the same all over the country, always covered with butts and spit and they give a feeling of sadness that only bus stations have. For a moment it was no different from being in Newark, except for the great hugeness outside that I loved so much. I rued the way I had broken up the purity of my entire trip, not saving every dime, and dawdling and not really making time, fooling around with this sullen girl and spending all my money. It made me sick. I hadn’t slept in so long I got too tired to curse and fuss and went off to sleep; I curled up on the seat with my canvas bag for a pillow, and slept till eight o’clock in the morning among the dreamy murmurs and noises of the station and of hundreds of people passing. (I.5.12)
Here Sal identifies sadness with a loss of purity, a dirtiness. It is interesting that Dean is one of the few characters Sal doesn’t find to be "sad," and he is also the character most associated with the word "purity."