On the Road Part Two, Chapters 7-9: Summary and Analysis
by Jack Kerouac

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Part Two, Chapters 7-9: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Alfred: a young, crippled hitchhiker

Hal Hingham: Sal’s friend in Tucson who loans him money

Okie Country Singer: a hitchhiker from Bakersfield

Sal wakes up to find Bull and Dean pulling nails from an old and rotten piece of wood. Bull wants to use the nails to build a shelf that will last forever. Bull is a great believer in building solid things. He shows off a table he built, a part of fence, and an “orgone accumulator” which is a device designed to collect orgones from the atmosphere. Sal notes that Bull is at his best in the morning, before fatigue and the effects of his drug use cause him to retire to his chair in the corner.

Sal and Bull go to the horse races in the afternoon. Sal tells Bull that the horse named “Big Pop” reminds him of his father. When Big Pop wins the race, Bull believes Sal must have had a vision.

When they return to Bull’s house, Dean is playing basketball. He demonstrates his athletic prowess, shooting the ball, running, and jumping. Sal is amazed at how good Dean is at sports. When Dean and Sal have a race, Dean wins easily.

They all go downtown and Dean shows them around the local train yard, explaining the job he had in San Francisco. Then Dean demonstrates the proper technique for jumping on and off a moving freight car. After exploring the town for awhile, Dean, Sal, and Marylou decide to leave for California. Ed and Galatea will stay on for awhile, working in New Orleans.

Sal, Dean, and Marylou head west through Louisiana in Dean’s battered Hudson. They drive along a road that takes them through a dark swamp, then into Texas. Dean recalls some wild times he had in Houston in 1947. While Dean and Marylou sleep, Sal runs the car off the road, and they get stuck in the mud. They are forced to push the car in the pouring rain and Dean and Sal get wet and muddy.
In Clint, Texas, Dean reminisces about his reform school and prison days, when he would listen to the local radio station that broadcast from Clint. In El Paso, they realize they are running out of money and wonder how they’ll be able to buy gas.

Marylou tells Sal that she wants to stay with him when they get to San Francisco. She’s unhappy with Dean and can’t stand being with him anymore because he’s too crazy. Sal doesn’t completely trust Marylou.

As they drive across Texas they pick up Alfred, a young hitchhiker with a disabled leg. He explains that if they drive him to his aunt’s house in Tulare, California, he’ll get some money there for gas. Sal pawns his watch and they make it to Tucson where Sal’s friend, Hal Hingham lives. Hal is glad to see them all, and he gives Dean five dollars. Outside Tucson they pick up an Okie hitchhiker, a country singer who has lost his clothes and guitar. The Okie gives them gas money and they make it to Bakersfield, where Dean recalls his many adventures there.

When they arrive in Tulare, Alfred discovers that his aunt’s store is closed. She has been arrested for shooting her husband. Alfred goes off by himself, hitchhiking to Oregon; Sal, Dean, and Marylou head for San Francisco. When they arrive in town, Dean drops Sal and Marylou off on the street with all their luggage. Dean drives off to find Camille, stranding them with no money.

Although Old Bull Lee spends much of his time sitting in his chair in a drug induced stupor, he...

(The entire section is 920 words.)