Part 1, Chapter 1 Notes from On the Road

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On the Road Part 1, Chapter 1

The narrator, Salvatore Paradise, begins this story soon after the separation with his first wife. The first line, "I first met Dean Moriarty after my wife and I split up." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 3 introduces the novel's second most important character. Salvatore, recently recovered from physical sickness and the drawn out emotional sickness of his separation, has always wanted to travel west. Dean, who was born on the road, has recently been released from jail. His letters to Chad King, which were passed on to Salvatore, told of his youth. Dean married a girl named Marylou and came to New York City. In the beginning of the novel, Salvatore, along with Chad King, goes to visit Dean and Mary Lou at his cold water flat. Salvatore mentions that sex is the most important thing to Dean and that Marylou was a pretty blond girl who was capable of "doing terrible things." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 5.

"My first impression of Dean was of a young Gene Autry- trim, thin- hipped, blue-eyed, with a real Oklahoma accent- a sideburned hero of the snowy West. In fact he'd just been working on a ranch, Ed Wall's in Colorado, before marrying Marylou and coming East." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 5

Sal stays up talking to Dean all night. Dean had confided in Chad King that he wanted to learn to write and Chad referred him to Sal, who was the writer of the group. Sal and Dean begin to spend more time together. Dean gets a job in a parking lot and works like a madman. After a couple of nights he gets in an over-the-top fight with Marylou and she calls the police to kick him out. Dean flees to Sal's apartment, where Sal lives with his aunt. They go to a bar to talk.

"In the bar I told Dean 'Hell man, I know very well you didn't come to me only to want to become a writer, and after all what do I really know about it except you've got to stick to it with the energy of a benny addict.'" Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 6

Dean continues to ramble, referring to Nietzsche and other philosophers, admittedly not knowing what he's talking about. He stays at Sal's apartment, and the pair agree to go west together sometime. Sal is working on a novel that he can't quite seem to finish. His aunt is supporting him while he writes. Sal knows that Dean is conning him, but he doesn't really care. In their free time Dean and Sal go out to look for girls. Sal admits, "I began to learn from him as much as he learned from me." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 7 Dean's behavior is manic and insane and it intrigues Sal. One night, while looking for girls, they run into Carlo Marx and Dean is instantly fixated. Carlo and Dean exchange urban mythologies as Sal leaves, feeling alienated. After this meeting, Sal sees less of Dean.

Topic Tracking: Generosity 1
Topic Tracking: Dean 1
Topic Tracking: Beat Generation 1

Spring comes and Dean decides to make a trip west. Carlo, Dean and Sal take a picture together before Dean leaves. From his frenetic work at the parking lot (racing around, speeding cars into their parking places), Dean has earned enough money to leave with a portable typewriter and a suit. Sal wants to follow Dean west, in an effort to get to know him better.

"And this was really the way that my whole road experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell." Part 1, Chapter 1, pg. 9

New York has gotten old for Sal; he has become disillusioned with his friends because they are either intellectuals or criminals. Dean is a bit of both.

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