Study Guide

Big Sur Chapter 17

By Jack Kerouac

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Chapter 17

  • Jack ends up drunk and passed out on the floor.
  • Remembering the death of his cat, he feels depressed, so to cheer himself up he starts reading James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson.
  • Except all he finds in the biography is more death.
  • Just when he's feeling desperate, the phone rings; it's Cody.
  • He begs Jack to drive back to see him so he can loan him a hundred bucks since he's just gotten laid off and he has to find another job so he can pay his rent on time.
  • Jack says sure, he'll have Cody drive him down. The men make a plan to meet and then drive back to the city together so Cody can introduce Jack to his mistress in San Francisco.
  • As he readies for the trip, Jack decides it would be fun to bring everyone down to the cabin in Big Sur.
  • Monsanto agrees and says he'll come too and bring some other buddies. "Suddenly another big ball is begun."
  • Jack buys alcohol for the road and they all pile into the jeep with Ron Blake and Ben Fagan in the back. Monsanto follows in his own jeep with his "little Chinese buddy Arthur Ma." They pick up Cody, get some pizzas, drop off the hundred dollars with Evelyn to pay the rent, and head on down to the cabin in Big Sur.

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