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 Seven: Read to Part 4, Chapter 4
Fun discussion last week, ladies. And a happy birthday to all of you who have celebrated during this read-a-long. Since we talked Tarot, we might as well mention Astrology… perhaps it is the fact that I am a Capricorn that makes it so hard for me to get into this novel. This is the same part of me that feels like a movie can be ruined if the characters are making a mess of the house (I am the one cringing and feeling stressed out – not laughing in these situations). Hmmm… messy, drugged out Dean with no plan leading the way has me wanting to throw up, yet again. I cannot handle it – but I love hearing from those of you who can. It’s really such a testament to how our personalities influence how we read and what we read, is it not? This is why these read-a-longs are so good for me: I am streeeeeetchig myself. Though Dean and Sal have me to the point where I might snap soon — good thing only one more week of reading.
It occurred to me, this week, that there is something voyeuristic about this book. It’s as though it’s a journal (or a personal blog), and I wonder if that’s part of what made it so special. Like we’ve talked about before, Kerouac even describes the mundane – so it feels as though we’re reading his notes about what happened… and in some way we are since this is so autobiographical.
Dean in a Nutshell: “Whee. Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get there.”
“Where we going, man?”
“I don’t know but we gotta go.” (240)
Dean, Pretty Woman Style: “When he came home at nigh he took off all his clothes and put on a hip-length Chinese silk jacket and sat in his easy chair to smoke a water pipe loaded with tea” (249). So… we talking hip length like hip bone or like the curve-of-your-hip. Either way, with nothing else on, that’s almost Julia Roberts in her tie waiting for Richard Gere. I imagine he may have had underwear on, but I enjoyed envisioning it without – much more Dean, acting like something that is totally not normal is actually normal. Carrying on a conversation with his friend like this. I laughed… let me have my laugh about Dean even if I’m envisioning it incorrectly.
Dean, Never-Changing: His plan with Inez… his ending with Inez. I actually felt sad reading these parts. I know Dean is an extreme, but he’s a focal part of this book for a reason. Sal is obsessed with him, and Kerouac was obsessed with Cassidy; in a way that shaped his life. It’s hard not to try to imagine the reality of this person (especially knowing there are people out there who are very much like Dean). They keep walking the same circle over and over and can’t seem to break out; but truly, even if he could, I don’t think Dean would do well out of this well grooved path he’s created — in a way it’s his comfort zone.
The turning tricks was new-to-us, but since Sal didn’t seem to be surprised, we can imagine that this wasn’t Dean’s first venture into prostitution. I think they must just use the derogatory terms for homosexual because they were the colloquial terms of the day – not because they felt ill towards them… Sal seemed to think nothing of the fact that Dean was servicing men.
Favorite Passage of the Week: “Dean took out other pictures. I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered, stabilized-within-the-photo lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives…” (253). Isn’t that the truth?
Question of the Week: Why did Sal say Dean was finally an Angel on page 263 (chapter 3) at the party? He wasn’t acting like an angel, and he wasn’t dead. Hmm…
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!