Big Sur Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Where is Jack in the beginning of the novel? What were his initial plans and why did they change?

The story opens with Jack's description of his state when he set out on his journey to the cabin at Big Sur. He was to have departed in secret to a hotel and used an alias, when he called his friend Lorenzo Monsanto to come and pick him up. Instead, Jack arrives drunk to Monsanto's bookstore, is recognized by everyone, and ends up passed out on the floor with his friends Ben Fagan and Robert Browning.

2. How does the narrator feel about himself in the end of Chapter 1?

Jack is, as a result of his botched departure, sick and disgusted with himself, and the chapter closes with his description of the condemnation from the Salvation Army people on the corner. He feels anguish at the sound of suffering drunks in the rooms surrounding his.

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