Study Guide

Big Sur Chapter 10

By Jack Kerouac

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Chapter 10

  • Finally, after three weeks, Jack leaves Big Sur.
  • He makes his way out to the highway and watches the tourists driving by in their cars. He figures it will be easy to hitch to Monterey, get on a bus, and be in San Francisco by nightfall with the gang – maybe Dave Wain or even Cody. And of course lots of girls.
  • He remembers that three weeks earlier he fled the city in desperation, but then again the sea told him to leave.
  • While he travels he admires the coast again, wondering what the Spaniards first thought when their ships found the coast.
  • As Jack tries to hitch a ride, he realizes things have changed in America since his On the Road days.
  • All he sees are cars with full families – children in the back seat – that have no room for hitchhikers. He rants for a bit about the vacationing family and all the silly provisions they bring with them on their travels. He imagines that they see him on the side of the road as "the very apotheosical opposite of their every vacation dream" which is why they continue driving.
  • By the afternoon several thousand cars have driven by, and Jack has resolved to walk the fourteen miles. But his shoes aren't made for walking, and he ends up with bloody, blistering feet after seven miles.
  • Finally a man with a dog picks him up and takes him to the bus station in Monterey, even though it's a bit out of his way.
  • When he gets to Monterey Jack cleans up and feels "light as feather and happy as a millionaire."

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