Study Guide

Big Sur Chapter 23

By Jack Kerouac

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Chapter 23

  • The next morning, Ron returns with Pat McLear and McLear's beautiful wife and their little five-year-old girl who thinks it is a beautiful morning in Big Sur.
  • Pat and Jack get to talking and Jack realizes that, despite his paranoia, he actually loves people.
  • Jack takes a moment to describe his friend Patrick.
  • Patrick's one of the most handsome men Jack's ever seen. His personal heroes are Jean Harlow, Arthur Rimbaud, and Billy the Kid.
  • While they chat Pat remembers the first time he met Jack. Pat was terrified , because Jack seemed like a car thief running around with Cody Pomeray.
  • Pat wants to get his poem, "Dark Brown," published in Paris, and he's hoping Jack can help by talking to his own publishers.
  • Jack's been one of Pat's literary heroes ever since Pat read the poem "Mexico City Blues." "I am a language spinner," he says, "and you're idea man."
  • Suddenly the door to the cabin bursts open and there stands Cody, whom Jack describes as "an Angel standing arm outstretched."
  • Cody's brought with him several other angels, also known as his wife (Evelyn) and kids (Emily, Gaby, Timmy).
  • Jack describes "the golden top of Heaven" that Cody seems to bring with him everywhere, "not that he means to produce this effect."
  • Cody is excited and wants to tell Jack all about the new grape-colored "jeepster station wagon" he bought. So they drove up here to celebrate and to thank Jack for that hundred dollars he gave them. and he got a new job.
  • While everyone else sets to cooking some breakfast inside Cody and Jack take a walk alone together. It's the first time they've been by themselves in ages, so they celebrate by smoking a joint.
  • When they get back to the cabin Jack notes that he hasn't had some quality alone time with Evelyn, either.
  • Jack remembers how he and Evelyn used to stay up late talking about Cody's soul. All over American, he explains, women are staying up late and talking about Cody, or possibly "having transcontinental telephone talks about his dong."
  • Cody may play the field, but he is "always tremendously generated towards complete relationships with his women to the point where they ended up in one convoluted octopus mess of souls and tears and fellatio and hotel room schemes."
  • Jack feels that, if nothing else, they will one day write on Cody's grave, "He Lived, He Sweated."
  • And then, as things get crazier, "what started off as a big holy reunion and surprise party in heaven deteriorates to a lot of showoff talk," and they all head down to the beach. They're drinking.
  • Cody rushes off to talk to McLear's wife and Jack ends up talking with Evelyn.
  • Back in the day, Jack explains, Evelyn really had two husbands, Cody and Jack, and they were a perfect family. Evelyn always insisted that she and Jack were made for each other "but her Karma was to serve Cody in this particular lifetime." Yet she claims she'll get Jack, in another lifetime, and it will take him eternities to get rid of her.
  • But Ron Blake is "red-hot for Evelyn" and keeps coming over and interrupting, and Cody gives him the go-ahead to spend some time alone with her.
  • They run out of liquor so they pile into the car to go get more, leaving Evelyn and Ron behind on the beach by the fire. They head for Monterey.

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