Welcome to the On the Road read-a-long! We’re reading this book through June and July. You can see the reading schedule and guidelines on the Starting Post Page.
Week Four: Read to Part 2, Chapter 8
We are half way through the book, my friends!
I think I have Dean pegged until he does something like pay Sal’s aunt back for money borrowed (albeit a year and a half later) or decide to go back to Camille when he’s still a continent away and shacking up with Marylou. He is, though, becoming increasingly intense. His philosophical rhetoric is on the uprise and he seems to be consistently on drugs. “Dean ran around putting sugar in his coffee and saying ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’” Hmmm… would that sugar also be known as – oh, I don’t know – cocaine?
I am increasingly relating to Sal. Not because of his mode of living (though, maybe a younger self would have found this exciting my current self is finding it exhausting), but because of his curiosity and his desire to see how people who are different than he is live their lives. “What I wanted was to take one more magnificent trip to the West Coast and get back in time for the spring semester in school… I only went along for the ride, and to see what else Dean was going to do… “(129, italics mine). ME TOO, SAL. I want to see what Dean is going to do and what is going to happen to him because of it. Also – “I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling start to another till I drop” (126). I think if that part of my life is over – it just very recently passed. I understand Sal’s desire to see everything and be interested in all of the new experiences that come rushing at him. It is very distracting and incredibly difficult not to become mesmerized by if you are a curious person.
I’m also surprised with Sal’s aunt. Did he paint her to to be not much of a character or was I just assuming she was a boring old lady. She’s actually quite calm, together, and wise. She seems to fully understand what Sal is doing – and somehow understand the necessity as well (if even not really approving). And her quote about men was quite progressive… “My aunt once said the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness” (122). I think I like her.
Maybe if the New York women who are using 50 Shades of Grey to spark their marriage beds into flames had read On the Road instead they would feel melty and feminine instead of buying up all of the twine in the Tri-State area (um, apparently this is really happening, by the way). Nothing against 50 Shades… I only made it to page 100 and then abandoned it in boredom, but he-llloooo on page 132 of my paperback version of OTR Kerouac wrote one of the most sensual sentiments I’ve ever read… “I could hear Dean, blissful and blabbering and frantically rocking. Only a guy who’s spent five years in jail can go to such maniacal helpless extremes; beseeching at the portals of the soft source, mad with a completely physical realization of the origins of life-bliss; blindly seeking to return the way he came… Dean had every right to die the sweet deaths of complete love of his Marylou. I didn’t want to interfere, I just wanted to follow” (132, emphasis mine). Hot damn! I think my computer might explode now. No wonder Kerouac was a gem with the ladies – that man knew the words to say. There is nothing raunchy in that paragraph – he described the experience so poetically that the ambiance created from his words is 1000 degrees hotter than any romance novel I’ve ever read. Kerouac, I salute you.
Jane and Old Bull… child services anyone? (They make Hemingway and Hadley look like parents of the year!) Jane and her Benzedrine papers, and Old Bull and his… everything. Old Bull was modeled after William S. Burroughs and I’m biased against Burroughs – so I only noticed the bad stuff. Did anyone notice when Old Bull was showing off his gun Jane said, “I hope I’m not around when you try it” (146)? (For those of you who don’t know – Burroughs infamously killed his wife, Joan, using a gun in a game of William Tell). I thought this was an interesting way for Kerouac to acknowledge this (or possibly foreshadow, though I think the book might end before the event happens).
The last page of chapter six was perfection. Bull in the bathroom shooting up, Ed and his lady doing whatever they were doing in the bedroom, Dean rolling tea (reallllly not sure what that means)… and then Sal and Marylou sitting on the porch using aristocratic southern accents with each other. I almost laughed out loud – this scene was brilliant and captured the essence of this part of the story so well. As if it was a normal house where everyone was having some quiet time in the evening, doing their own thing… but the things they were doing were so absurd and strange to be doing in a house all together (though it’s exactly how their time in NoLa had played out). Loved it.
Who’s Reading Along:
** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly On the Road discussion (see below for more information).**
- If you are participating and I don’t have you on this list, please let me know in the comments section. I did not include people who said ‘maybe’ so if you have changed your mind and are definitely reading along with us, let me know so I can add you. Also, if you are not going to be able to join us anymore please let me know and I will take you off the list.
- Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon (before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.
- Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “I’m catching up,” or “I’m still reading.” ***for all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
- If you are a blogger you may post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted.
- If you go for two weeks without commenting in my weekly update comments section, I will assume you are no longer participating and will take you off of the list (*NEW GUIDELINE*, in order to get back onthe list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list.). This is in no way to be discouraging, but helps to keep the read-a-long organized (and helps me remember who’s completed what read-a-long…there (ahem) might be something fun for different levels of participants at the end of the year! Thanks!