This read-a-long is hosted by Wallace at Unputdownables.
This post contains spoilers.
- Sal seems to be in love with everything, which makes it really hard to determine his character. As Jacqueline mentioned, he admits to faults or poor decisions and I believe he is honest about his experiences; however, he seems to use other people just as much as anyone else in the group. Sometimes he’s a wide-eyed young boy in love with life and at other times he seems older, wiser, and more cynical (for lack of a better word). While I find it difficult to get to know him, this makes me like him even more (and Kerouac’s writing, for that matter). What real person doesn’t have these complexities?
- This passage stood out to me because it shows just how in love he is with not only the West, but with the way of life that he encounters when he is with Terry: “Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple disk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries” (p. 80). I agree with the idea that he is “playing” at these different lifestyles, but he puts his heart into it.
- I couldn’t help but laugh at the description of the cafeteria they ate at, which was decorated like a grotto. Maybe its immaturity, but I found the idea of “metal tits spurting everywhere and great impersonal stone buttockses belonging to deities and soapy Neptune” hilarious in that setting (p. 88).
- I am a bit confused as to what “beat” means, as he uses in it the story. For example: “Terry and I were finally reduced to trying to get jobs on South Main Street among the beat countermen and dishgirls who made no bones about their beatness, and even there it was a no go” (p. 88). What is beatness? Is this just a counterculture? Or a quality? Here, it almost seems as though it’s a visible part of them.
- I adore this quote about Dean and Marylou’s relationship: “She understood Dean; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad” (p. 113). And again with the semi-colons! Love it!
- This is another great quote that characterizes Dean a bit more: “Fury spat out of his eyes when he told of things he hated; great glows of joy replaced this when he suddenly got happy; every muscle twitched to live and go” (p. 113).