Study Guide

Henry Glass in On the Road

By Jack Kerouac

Henry Glass

The first significant person that Sal meets after abandoning Dean in Part IV, Chapter Two. Henry fails to fill the hero role, however. Although he is similar to Dean in the jail sense, he doesn’t have the same saintliness, according to Sal. Henry makes it clear to us how special Dean is. Dean’s not just a wise guy who spent some time in jail and knows how to con. Instead, he has admirable qualities (saintliness, holiness, purity) that allow Sal to put Dean on a pedestal.

Interestingly, Tim Gray and Stan Shephard think Henry is great, cool, one of the gang. They don’t have Sal's perceptiveness, and are unable to see just how different Henry is from Dean, and how special Dean really is.