On the Road Part Two, Chapters 1-3: Summary and Analysis
by Jack Kerouac

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Part Two, Chapters 1-3: Summary and Analysis

New Character:
Galated: Ed Dunkel’s wife

A year has passed and Sal is back in school on the GI Bill. For Christmas, Sal and his aunt go to Testament, Virginia to visit Sal’s brother, Rocky. One day, while Sal is visiting with his Southern relatives, Dean shows up with Marylou and Ed Dunkel, driving a brand new car. Sal hasn’t seen Dean for over a year.

Dean immediately creates chaos in the house, leaving Sal’s relatives completely bewildered. Dean drives Sal and the others downtown to the heart of the little city. Dean explains that he had been working on the railroad in San Francisco, earning $400 a week, but he spent it all buying his new car. Now the car is wrecked from Dean’s speeding across the country.

When he left San Francisco, Dean brought Ed Dunkel and Ed’s wife, Galatea, with him. Galatea never stopped complaining, though, so they left her behind in Tucson and drove north to pick up Marylou in Denver. Dean tells Sal that Marylou is the only woman he ever really loved.

Dean races around Testament, creating a scene, and commenting on everything he sees. Finally, they all decide to drive to New York together. Sal realizes he has the “bug” to get on the road again.
They drive back to New York with a load of Rocky’s furniture piled in the back seat. Dean speeds the entire trip, vowing to make it to New York and back, to pick up another load of furniture, in thirty hours.

During the trip, Sal comes to the conclusion that he and Dean are traveling for no reason. He thinks of Lucille, a woman from school he has been dating, and decides he wants to get married. He tells Dean of his plan, explaining that he wants to marry and rest his soul. “This can’t go on all the time—all this franticness and jumping around. We’ve got to go someplace, find something.” Dean says he understands.

In Philadelphia, they wash dishes to earn money for food, then drive into Manhattan. The next morning, Sal and his friends wake up in Sal’s home in Paterson, New Jersey. Dean immediately organizes the group, issuing orders and instructions. Dean gets a phone call from his girlfriend, Camille, in San Francisco; then Ed Dunkel’s wife, Galatea, calls him from Old Bull Lee’s house in New Orleans, where she went to look for Dean and Ed. Galatea is very angry and Bull wants her out of his house.

Carlo Marx arrives from Long Island, and Sal notes that he has changed since his trip to Dakar. Carlo wants to know the meaning of Dean’s trip to New York. Why are they just aimlessly traveling around? No one has an answer.

Dean and Sal drop Carlo off in Manhattan, then turn around and head back to Virginia, making the trip in ten hours flat. Sal describes Dean as being “tremendously excited about everything he saw, everything he talked about, every detail of every moment that passed.” During the trip, Sal and Dean ponder the existence of God. Dean asserts that no matter what happens, good or bad “God exists without qualms.” Sal tells us that “these were the first days of (Dean’s) mysticism.”

In Testament, they pick up Sal’s aunt and another load of furniture. Dean talks about his life in San Francisco, working for the railroad. They get a speeding ticket outside of Washington and Sal’s irate aunt tells off the disgruntled policeman before paying the fifteen dollar fine. When they arrive back in Paterson, Ed and Marylou are waiting for them. Sal’s aunt buys a load of groceries and cooks everyone a tremendous breakfast.

Sal, back from his extended road trip for a year, has been going to school...

(The entire section is 976 words.)