Literapedia Book Notes for

On the Road by Jack Kerouac


  • Salvatore Paradise (ch 1.1)—the writer and the narrator of the book.
  • Dean Moriarty (ch 1.1)—a reckless, womanizing companion of Sal in his travels.
  • Chad King (ch 1.1)—a friend of Sal who lives in Denver.
  • Marylou (ch 1.1)—Dean's first wife.
  • Sal's Aunt (ch 1.1)—a supporter both financially and emotionally of Sal.
  • Carlo Marx (ch 1.1)---a poet and is friends with both Dean and Sal.
  • Remi Boncoeur (ch 1.2)---a prep school friend of Sal.
  • Lee Ann (ch 1.2)---Remi's girlfriend.
  • Eddie (ch 1.3)---a hitchhiker from New York; travels with Sal west.
  • Montana Slim (ch 1.4)---a selfish hitchhiker who rides with Sal on flatbed truck.
  • Mississippi Gene (ch 1.4)---a hitchhiker who rides with Sal on flatbed truck.
  • Tim Gray (ch 1.6)---Sal's friend in Denver.
  • Roland Major (ch 1.6)---a writer who Sal stays with in Denver.
  • Camille (ch 1.7)---Dean's second wife who lives in San Francisco.
  • Reta Bettencourt (ch 1.7)---a waitress in Denver who Sal has sex with.
  • Ray Rawlins (ch 1.7)---a friend of Sal; rejected Dean and Carlo's friendship.
  • Babe Rawlins (ch 1.8)---Tim Gray's girlfriend.
  • Denver D. Doll (ch 1.9)---a party friend in Central City.
  • Terry (ch 1.12)---Sal's fifteen day crush in California after he leaves San Francisco for the first time.
  • Rickey (ch 1.13)---Terry's brother.
  • Ponzo (ch 1.13)---Terry and Rickey's manure selling friend.
  • Ed Dunkel (ch 2.1)---an influencible friend of Sal and Dean; married to Galatea.
  • Galatea Dunkel (ch 2.1)---Ed Dunkel's wife.
  • Old Bull Lee (ch 2.3)---a friend of Sal and Carlo who lives in Louisiana.
  • Lucille (ch 2.4)---a New Yorker who Sal shortly pursues for marriage.
  • Jane Lee (ch 2.6)---Bull Lee's wife.
  • Roy Johnson (ch 3.3)---Dean and Sal's chauffeur in San Francisco.
  • Tom Snark (ch 3.3)---a friend of Sal.
  • Walter (ch 3.4)---Dean and Sal's drinking partner in San Francisco who has a very pleasant wife.
  • Sam Brady (ch 3.6)---one of Dean's old friends.
  • Ed Wall (ch 3.8)---a friend of Sal who thinks Dean and him stole the limo.
  • Inez (ch 3.11)---Dean's third wife.
  • Stan Shepherd (ch 4.2)---a friend of Tim Gray who goes with Sal and Dean to Mexico.
  • Victor (ch 4.5)---Sal, Dean, and Stan's guide in Gregoria.

Chapter Summaries

Part 1
  1. Salvatore Paradise befriends Dean Moriarty following Sal’s divorce and the two become best of friends. Dean goes to live with Sal following a fight between Dean and his girlfriend Marylou. When spring comes, Dean travels west leaving Sal in New York.
  2. With dreams of the west, Sal takes off determined to go Route 6 the entire way. Forty miles out of New York City, he is advised as to a more direct route. He returns to New York and spends a good portion of his money on a bus ticket from New York to Chicago.
  3. Once in Chicago, Sal begins hitchhiking his way west with a number of people. He meets another New York hitchhiker named Eddie who he deems his “pal of the road”.
  4. Sal gets the “best ride of his life” in the back of a flat bed truck with eight other strangers. He rides with the diverse group all the way to Cheyenne, where he plans to then make the trek ninety miles south to Denver to meet up with Dean.
  5. Sal and Montana Slim pick up a couple girls in Cheyenne, and when Sal wakes up the next morning, Montana Slim is gone. Sal then hitchhikes the rest of the way to Denver.
  6. Sal calls his friend Chad King to meet up with the gang of Dean and Carlo Marx, but he finds out that the group is no longer friends. Sal goes and spends the night at Chad’s house.
  7. Sal goes to stay with Roland Major and then meets up with Carlo Marx and Dean. Dean’s life now revolves around sex with his wife and girlfriend. The three go out on the town, and Roland will not let them all back into his apartment. Therefore, Carlo and Sal go back into the city where Sal realizes he is out of money.
  8. Eddie arrives in Denver and reunites with Sal, and they both go to check out the job that Dean has arranged for them. Only Eddie takes it. Dean announces he is divorcing Marylou and marrying Camille, and Sal believes that Dean and Carlo will never get where they are going.
  9. Sal and a group of his friends from Denver go to Central City and clean out an abandoned house to throw a party. The party is popular, but Ray Rawlins gets in a fight at a local bar. In the morning, they all go back to Denver.
  10. Sal decides he is going to San Francisco and sends home for more money. He goes on a date with Reta Bettencourt. He buys a bus ticket and heads off for San Francisco.
  11. Sal lives with Remi Boncoeur in San Francisco and gets a job as a security guard. Sal dines with Remi and his stepfather, and Roland Major happens to be at the restaurant. Roland is rude and gets kicked out of the restaurant, and Sal decides to leave San Francisco but to stay one more day to climb a mountain.
  12. Sal hitchhikes south of Bakersfield, where he buys a bus ticket to L.A. and meets a Mexican girl named Terry. He decides they will be together, but then he is fearful that she is a hustler after his money. The two get into a fight at a hotel and Sal tells her to leave.
  13. The two make up and go to Bakersfield to pick up Terry’s child and brothers. They get a job picking cotton, which ends with little money in hand and the death of another worker by one of Terry’s brothers. Sal decides to return to New York, but Terry cannot accompany him.
  14. Sal begins his bus ride back to New York and meets a girl on the bus who he likes. They make a date for a hotel in the city, and Sal finally arrives back in New York City. He learns that Dean has moved back to the city and is living with Camille there.

Part 2
  1. Dean helps Sal’s brother move to New York. Previously, Dean had bought a car with Marylou and newly married and then separated Ed Dunkel. Dean and Sal decide they must find Carlo Marx, and Sal knows he is in for another roadtrip.
  2. Dean and Sal travel up to New York in Dean’s car. Sal thinks to himself that he would like to get married, and the two stop for a free dinner.
  3. They stay in Sal’s apartment, where they hear from Old Bull Lee on behalf of Galatea and Camille. Carlo comes over, they go back to Sal’s aunt’s house, pick up more furniture and Sal’s aunt, and return to New York.
  4. The group finds a New Year’s Eve party, where Dean and Sal dance with each others’ crushes. They go to Long Island with Rollo Greb, and after more partying, Sal gets depressed and returns home.
  5. Sal concludes that his travelling is a waste of time but will not relinquish his habits. Dean wants Sal to have sex with Marylou, but Sal refuses until he gets to San Francisco. They leave to go west telling Sal’s aunt they will be back in two weeks.
  6. The group arrives in New Orleans after being stopped in D.C. for speeding and fined. They meet Old Bull Lee, and Ed and his wife are reunited. The group goes to the bars and drink and do drugs.
  7. Old Bull Lee tells stories on the porch, and Sal and him later go see the bookies. They go into the city and ride on trains while Dean, Marylou, and Sal wait for Sal’s check to come in so they can resume their travels.
  8. They drive through swamps, then Texas, and through a bad blizzard. Marylou comes on to Sal, but he gets her to wait until they get to San Francisco. Sal gets them dinner and money from a friend in Arizona.
  9. They pick up a hitchhiker who provides some money when they get to California. Upon arrival, Dean disappears to find Camille, leaving the crowd with no money.
  10. Marylou gets a hotel room but loses interest in Sal and runs off with a rich man. Sal becomes philosophical as he is lonely and then returns to the hotel room alone for the night.
  11. Dean finds Sal, and Sal goes to live with him in Camille’s house. Dean and Sal go out one night to listen to jazz music and meet a man named Lampshade. When Sal’s check comes, Sal goes to the bus station and thinks he will never see Dean and Marylou ever again.

Part 3
  1. Sal returns to Denver in 1949 to find no one from his old gang there. He wishes to find Dean and borrows money from a wealthy girl. He catches a ride with the travel bureau to San Francisco and arrives at Dean’s house at two in the morning.
  2. Dean is living in hard times: Camille is unhappy, a second baby is on the way, and Dean has a severely infected wrist from a dispute with Marylou. Dean packs his stuff, and Sal and Dean leave San Francisco following a revelation when Sal saw a picture of Galatea.
  3. They attempt to get Ed and Remi to come with them, but both are nowhere to be found. Camille tells Galatea that Dean left her, and everyone soon becomes angry with Dean except Sal.
  4. Dean and Sal go to the jazz club and meet a man named Walter. They end up spending the night at Walter’s house, and in the morning Dean and Sal leave for a new journey without Ed.
  5. Dean and Sal get a ride east with a homosexual man working for the travel bureau. Everyone in the car criticizes Dean, but Sal defends him. They stop in Denver.
  6. The two decide to stay in Denver and look for Dean’s father. They meet up with Dean’s cousin Sam Brady, and they find out that Dean’s father is in New England. They go to the carnival, and then they return to the house they stayed at the previous night.
  7. Dean and Sal get kicked out of the house because of a letter being sent from Sal to Old Bull Lee about taking advantage of their hosts. Dean goes out on a car stealing spree.
  8. They discover their stolen car is a policeman’s, and they agree to drive a limousine to Chicago for the traveler’s bureau. The pick up a couple Jesuit passengers, and Dean crashes the limo into a ditch going too fast. They arrive at Ed Wall’s ranch, but he doesn’t trust them so they leave after an hour.
  9. Dean continues his fast driving practices, and Dean and Sal talk about the past. Dean crashes into a slower car, and the people call the police on him. They straighten everything out at the station, and Dean gets back on the road to continue his crazy driving. They arrive in Chicago.
  10. In Chicago, the two go out to hear some jazz. They follow the musicians around, and Dean crashes into fire hydrants. They return the limo to its owner, who does not complain about its condition.
  11. They take a bus to Detroit, and then find a ride back into New York. Dean meets Inez and vows to divorce Camille for her. Instead of going to Italy, Sal stays in New York.

Part 4
  1. Sal makes money from the sales of his book, and Dean has become a steady parking lot attendant. He is still with Inez and talks of living the rest of his life as a bum. Sal’s aunt gives Dean advice.
  2. Sal takes a bus to Washington and meets Stan Shepherd, a friend of Tim Gray. Stan wants to go to Mexico with Sal but he is afraid Dean (who is going to meet Sal in Denver) won’t let him.
  3. Sal stays at Babe Rawlins’ house where he meets back up with Dean. Dean, Sal, and Stan all head south from Denver towards Mexico to the chagrin of Stan’s parents.
  4. The three drive south, and Stan is stung which is later cured by penicillin in a Texas hospital. The three exchange stories all the way down through Texas and stop in San Antonio and Laredo. They arrive in Mexico.
  5. Sal and Dean go through Sabinas Hidalgo and Monterrey. In Monterrey, they meet Victor who gives them marijuana and takes them to a whorehouse. They tell Victor they might return to the city on their way back.
  6. They continue their journey through the night with run-ins with the police and lots of bugs. They arrive in Gregoria to find it run down and chaotic. Dean leaves for New York because he misses Inez, and Stan and Sal stay in Mexico.

Part 5
  1. Dean gets back to New York, marries Inez, and then leaves her for Camille. In the fall, Sal returns and meets a girl. Dean writes that he will personally drive them to San Francisco. Sal sees Dean for the last time with Remi, with Dean walking off around the corner waving goodbye. Sal prepares to go west with his new girl.

Book Note Creator

Will Roberts, '08