Study Guide

Big Sur Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

  • Once in Monterey, Jack has to get fourteen miles south to Raton Canyon Bridge. He gets in a cab and arrives at the Bridge, which he finds scary and overwhelming.
  • "Something's wrong," he thinks – when Monsanto described his place at Big Sur Jack imagined "something larkish, bucolic, all homely woods and gladness."
  • Instead he's found "all this aerial mystery roaring in the dark." His lantern barely penetrates the darkness as he makes his way over the bridge and listens to the roaring surf below.
  • Warily, Jack holds his lantern at his feet, trying to prove to himself that the ground is there as he takes each step forward.
  • It scares him that the sea is below him, seemingly underground.
  • Soon he comes to a creek, which he remembers from the map Monsanto drew him.
  • As he makes his way down into the trees and darkness, he's even more afraid of what he'll find. He feels there's something primitive about the landscape, and that it doesn't want to be disturbed by his presence.
  • Finally he crawls through a barbed wire fence and treads down a "sweet little sand road," startled only by the black piles of "old mule dung" in this "Heaven" he's discovered.

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