Study Guide

Big Sur Chapter 33

By Jack Kerouac

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Chapter 33

  • Dave and Romana arrive at Billie's and they all have a good time packing up, singing, and drinking.
  • When they leave in the jeep, Jack sits up front next to Dave and Romana to recapture the moving-front-porch feeling he had the last time they drove together. Besides, he likes the "hope" of sitting in the front seat and looking at the white line down the center off the road.
  • He sings as they drive and he's happy, but he knows that the bad moments always start out like this.
  • Jack insists that they stop at Cody's, supposedly so he can pick up some clothes but secretly because he wants Evelyn and Billie to come face to face.
  • Cody is horrified even though Billie stays asleep in the jeep, but Evelyn is "unperturbed." She doesn't even know why Cody is so upset, though Jack explains that this ruins his chance to be "real secretive."
  • Cody is mad at Jack for bringing his mistress to his wife's place.
  • Jack wakes up Billie and brings her inside; "both girls keep their silence and hardly look at each other."
  • Cody seems like he's just tired of Jack bringing people to his house, and causing disturbances in his marriage.
  • But Jack feels too good to realize that Cody is angry.
  • Jack thinks that he'll "never really know what [Cody's] up to anyway in the long run."
  • Jack sees himself as just a visitor bouncing from coast to coast and always on the periphery of other people's lives, never really involved in them in any meaningful way.
  • He's a "traveling stranger" with no life of his own.
  • Then he looks out of the window and sees his star shining in the sky, as it's been doing his whole life, though it's getting dimmer.
  • "In fact," writes Jack, "we're all strangers with strange eyes sitting in a midnight living room for nothing."
  • They drink some more and the gang finally takes off, leaving Cody and Evelyn behind.
  • When they get to Big Sur, everything is fine. Jack has a good time drinking, singing, and unpacking.
  • "No," he writes, "it's the next day and night that concerns me."

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