Study Guide

Big Sur Chapter 2

By Jack Kerouac

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Chapter 2

  • Jack looks around his hotel room (which he calls his "dismal cell") and takes stock of his possessions, including a first aid kit and sewing materials supplied by his mother.
  • He realizes he needs to make "one fast move" or he'll be "gone" – then reflects on the past three years of "drunken hopelessness which is a physical and spiritual and metaphysical hopelessness you can't learn in school no matter how many books on existentialism or pessimism you read."
  • He remembers waking up with delirium tremens (a episode of delirium caused by withdrawal from alcohol)3 and a heavy fear of death, weighed down and unrecognizable to himself.
  • So before he finds himself weighed down yet again, Jack jumps up, showers, and gets onto a bus headed for Monterey.
  • He needs to escape the city.

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