On the Road Part Two, Chapters 4-6: Summary and Analysis
by Jack Kerouac

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Part Two, Chapters 4-6: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Tom Saybrook: a friend of Sal’s

Lucille: Sal’s girlfriend in New York

Damion: Sal’s friend; the ”hero” of his New York group

Rollo Greb: a friend of Sal’s who lives on Long Island

Hyman Solomon: a hobo

Old Bull Lee: Sal and Dean’s friend in New Orleans

Jane Lee: Old Bull’s wife

On New Year’s Eve, Sal and Dean sleep all day at Sal’s aunt’s house. When they wake up, Ed tells them about his last New Year’s Eve, which he spent alone, having visions of his dead mother. However this year they’re all going to a party in New York, so they head off for Manhattan. As they drive through the Lincoln Tunnel, Sal recalls a dream he had about an Arabian figure chasing him across a desert. He interprets the dream to mean that death is pursuing all of us and will catch us before we reach heaven.

The group arrives at Tom Saybrook’s apartment for a party. Lucille meets Sal there, and Sal introduces her to his friends. Lucille is immediately wary of Dean, Ed, and Marylou, sensing, according to Sal, “the madness they put in me.” Sal quickly realizes that his relationship with Lucille is coming to an end. Marylou makes a pass at Sal, and Lucille gets very jealous. Sal’s friend, Damion, arrives. Sal describes him as the Dean of his New York friends, but Damion and Dean immediately dislike each other. They all go from one party to the next and end up at Rollo Greb’s house in Long Island.

Rollo lives in a big house with his aunt, but his aunt hates all his friends. Sal describes Rollo as a mad scholar who is always reading and has two libraries in his house. Dean is delighted with Rollo. He instructs Sal to start acting like Rollo, otherwise, according to Dean, Sal will never “get it.”

Later, Sal and Dean attend a George Shearing concert and Dean is captivated by the performance. When they smoke marijuana afterwards, Sal has a moment of realization. He tells us, “It made me think that everything was about to arrive—the moment when you know all and everything is decided forever.”

Sal’s aunt tells him that he is wasting his time hanging around with Dean, but Sal wants to return to California with him. Carlo cautions Sal and Dean that they need to find a purpose to their lives. Ed Dunkel will follow Dean anywhere, but he tells Sal that he feels like a “ghost walking on the sidewalk.”

At Ritzey’s Bar, a gangster hangout in Manhattan, Dean asks Sal if he would like to sleep with Marylou. Sal reasons that Dean is interested in seeing what Marylou is like with other men. Sal is intrigued, but he can’t go through with it. He tells us that Dean goes to such extremes in his life because of the years he spent deprived, when he was in reform school and prison. Sal says he doesn’t want to interfere with Dean, he just wants “to follow.”

Sal calls Old Bull Lee in New Orleans. Bull demands that Ed come down and take Galatea off his hands. Sal, Dean, Ed, and Marylou decide to go to New Orleans and then on to California. They leave New York, and are delighted to be on the move once again. They are entranced by the “purity of the road.” They drive through Washington on Inauguration Day; President Truman is being sworn in for his second term. Outside of Washington, they are pulled over for speeding and brought to the police station. The cops are all very suspicious of Dean. He ends up paying a $25 fine, leaving only fifteen dollars for the rest of the trip. Dean is furious at the police and wants to go back and shoot them.

They pick up a hobo named Hyman Solomon. Hyman offers to hustle money for them when they get to a city. They stop in Testament, Virginia, where Sal’s brother lives, and Solomon goes off to raise some cash. Dean waits for awhile but he never returns, so they drive off without him. Back on the road they manage to steal a tankful of gas while a station attendant is fast asleep. They drive on and Dean, talking non-stop, describes some adventures he had as a child.

When they get to...

(The entire section is 1,153 words.)