© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
On the Road

On the Road


by Jack Kerouac

On the Road Spirituality Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

Dean had dispatched the occupant of the apartment to the kitchen, probably to make coffee, while he proceeded with his love problems, for to him sex was the one and only holy and important thing in life, although he had to sweat and curse to make a living and so on. (I.1.4)

Sal doesn’t connect holiness and sex at first, but recognizes the connection in Dean.

Quote #2

"That’s right, man, now you’re talking." And a kind of holy lightning I saw flashing from his excitement and his visions, which he described so torrentially that people in buses looked around to see the "overexcited nut." In the West he’d spent a third of his time in the poolhall, a third in jail, and a third in the public library. They’d seen him rushing eagerly down the winter streets, bareheaded, carrying books to the poolhall, or climbing trees to get into the attics of buddies where he spent days reading or hiding from the law. (I.1.10)

The holy element that Sal recognizes in Dean is Dean’s frenzied nature, his "holy lightning." Dean’s madness takes on the fervor of religious ecstasy,

Quote #3

Dean, who had the tremendous energy of a new kind of American saint, and Carlo were the underground monsters of that season in Denver, together with the poolhall gang, and, symbolizing this most beautifully, Carlo had a basement apartment on Grant Street and we all met there many a night that went to dawn - Carlo, Dean, myself, Tom Snark, Ed Dunkel, and Roy Johnson. More of these others later. (I.6.5)

It is interesting that Sal refers to Dean as a saint, given his criminal past, his drug use, his alcohol abuse, and his general mistreatment of Sal as a friend.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...