Suggested Essay Topics

Part One, Chapters 1-2
1. Considering Dean Moriarty’s bizarre behavior and “criminality,” why are Sal and his friends so attracted to him?

2. Why do you think Dean wants Sal and his friends to teach him how to write?

3. Why is Sal so determined to hitchhike out of New York when taking a bus would be so much easier?

Part One, Chapters 3-5
1. Since he has so little money left, why does Sal turn down the job offer from the carnival owner?

2. Discuss the reasons Sal feels such a close connection to Mississippi Gene.

3. Describe Sal’s impressions of the Midwest. How does this new environment make him feel?

Part One, Chapters 6-8
1. Why do you think Roland Major shows such contempt for Dean?

2. Discuss reasons why Camille is so antagonistic towards Carlo.

3. Do you think Sal feels sorry for Dean because Dean had such a hard time when he was a child?

Part One, Chapters 9-10
1. Sal had an opportunity to work at the markets in Denver. Do you think it’s fair for him to ask his aunt to send him money?

2. Why do you think Sal wants to leave Colorado after the big party in Central City?

3. How does Sal feel when he’s sleeping on the grass with the hoboes?

Part One, Chapters 11-12
1. Why do you think Sledge and Sal handle the men in the barracks so differently?

2. Discuss Remi and Lee Ann’s relationship. Why are they living together if they’re always fighting?

3. Why does Remi get so upset when Roland Major makes a scene at Alfred’s?

Part One, Chapters 13-14
1. When Sal leaves Terry, he says, “I could feel the pull of my own life calling me back.” Explain what he means by this.

2. Why do you think Sal follows The Ghost around for seven miles?

3. Why does Sal expect the skinny salesman, a complete stranger, to not only give him a ride, but to also give him food? Explain your answer.

Part Two, Chapters 1-3
1. Why do you think Dean spends so much time speeding from one destination to another?

2. Discuss Dean’s opinion of politicians and other authority figures like the police.

3. Why is Carlo so insistent when he asks Sal and Dean to explain their...

(The entire section is 972 words.)