On the Road
Wisdom and Knowledge Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
First reports of him came to me through Chad King, who’d shown me a few letters from him written in a New Mexico reform school. I was tremendously interested in the letters because they so naively and sweetly asked Chad to teach him all about Nietzsche and all the wonderful intellectual things that Chad knew. At one point Carlo and I talked about the letters and wondered if we would ever meet the strange Dean Moriarty. (I.1.1)
One of Sal’s first characterizations of Dean is in regards to his desire to learn – Sal finds it an important part of Dean’s persona.
During the following week he confided in Chad King that he absolutely had to learn how to write from him; Chad said I was a writer and he should come to me for advice...He came right out to Paterson, New Jersey, where I was living with my aunt, and one night while I was studying there was a knock on the door, and there was Dean, bowing, shuffling obsequiously in the dark of the hall, and saying, "Hello, you remember me - Dean Moriarty? I’ve come to ask you to show me how to write." (I.1.5)
If Sal’s interest in Dean is one of awe and idolatry, then Dean places Sal on a similar pedestal – but one of learning.
In those days he really didn’t know what he was talking about; that is to say, he was a young jailkid all hung-up on the wonderful possibilities of becoming a real intellectual, and he liked to talk in the tone and using the words, but in a jumbled way, that he had heard from "real intellectuals" - although, mind you, he wasn’t so naive as that in all other things, and it took him just a few months with Carlo Marx to become completely in there with all the terms and jargon. Nonetheless we understood each other on other levels of madness, and I agreed that he could stay at my house till he found a job and furthermore we agreed to go out West sometime. That was the winter of 1947. (I.1.7)
Sal finds Dean’s thirst for knowledge to be more genuine than that of his "intellectual" friends – his initial draw to Dean is his vision of a purity in Dean’s character.