Study Guide

Big Sur Chapter 27

By Jack Kerouac

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Chapter 27

  • That night Jack and Billie stay awake until dawn talking about books, Cody, Evelyn, and philosophy. She gets up for work in the morning while Jack, still drunk, stays in bed.
  • Soon enough Perry Yturbide, one of Cody's very good friends, arrives. Jack describes him as "…a tempestuous lost tossed soul just out of Soledad State Prison for attempted robbery."
  • Perry looks strong enough to break a man in half. He and Jack discuss the possible origins of his last name.
  • Jack appreciates Perry's poetic soul, but he realizes that this man is entirely capable of "exploding and killing somebody for an idea maybe or for love."
  • Somehow everyone found out that Jack was at Billie's place, so the doorbell starts ringing and soon enough the room is filled with "strange anarchistic n****es and ex-cons."
  • Amidst this gang Jack is reminded of a nightmare he had about San Francisco before he left the East Coast in which the whole city was silence, and men stood in second floor windows and said nothing while everyone watched. The beatniks had the streets to themselves but didn't speak, and Jack took a ride "on a self-propelled platform" through downtown and to a chicken farm where a woman invites her to stay and live with him.
  • All of this, he feels, is "an indication of the coming madness in Big Sur."

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