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On the Road Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from On the Road
01
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“In those days he really didn’t know what he was talking about; that is to say, he was a young jail kid all hung-up on the wonderful possibilities of becoming a real intellectual, and he liked to talk in the tone and using the words, but in a jumbled way, that he had heard from “real intellectuals” - although, mind you, he wasn’t so naive as that in all other things, and it took him just a few months with Carlo Marx to become completely in there with all the terms and jargon. Nonetheless we understood each other on other levels of madness, and I agreed that he could stay at my house till he found a job and furthermore we agreed to go out West sometime. That was the winter of 1947.”
Jack Kerouac
author
On the Road
book
friendship
knowledge
learning
intellect
concepts
02
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“One of the biggest troubles of hitchhiking is having to talk to innumerable people, make them feel that they didn’t make a mistake picking you up.”
03
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“That last thing is what you can’t get, Carlo. Nobody can get to that last thing. We keep on living in hopes of catching it once for all.”
04
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“Marylou was the only girl Dean ever really loved. He was sick with regret when he saw her face again, and, as of yore, he pleaded and begged at her knees for the joy of her being. She understood Dean; she stroked his hair; she knew he was mad.”
05
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“I wondered how he could live with her like this. He had more books than I’ve ever seen in all my life - two libraries, two rooms loaded from floor to ceiling around all four walls, and such books as the Apocryphal Something-or-Other in ten volumes. He played Verdi operas and pantomimed them in his pajamas with a great rip down the back. He didn’t give a damn about anything. He is a great scholar who goes reeling down the New York waterfront with original seventeenth-century musical manuscripts under his arm, shouting. He crawls like a big spider through the streets. His excitement blew out of his eyes in stabs of fiendish light. He rolled his neck in spastic ecstasy. He lisped, he writhed, he flopped, he moaned, he howled, he fell back in despair. He could hardly get a word out, he was so excited with life.”
06
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“First reports of him came to me through Chad King, who’d shown me a few letters from him written in a New Mexico reform school. I was tremendously interested in the letters because they so naively and sweetly asked Chad to teach him all about Nietzsche and all the wonderful intellectual things that Chad knew. At one point Carlo and I talked about the letters and wondered if we would ever meet the strange Dean Moriarty.”
07
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“And this was really the way that my whole road experience began, and the things that were to come are too fantastic not to tell.”
08
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“Remember that I believe in you. I’m infinitely sorry for the foolish grievance I held against you yesterday afternoon.”
09
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“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was- I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds.”
10
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“The night was getting more and more frantic. I wished Dean and Carlo were there - then I realized they’d be out of place and unhappy. They were like the man with the dungeon stone and the gloom, rising from the underground, the sordid hipsters of America, a new beat generation that I was slowly joining.”
11
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“That was the way Dean found me when he finally decided I was worth saving. He took me home to Camille’s house. ‘Where’s Marylou, man?‘”
12
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″‘Well, then, I’ll put it off.’ I had no money. I sent my aunt an airmail letter asking her for fifty dollars and said it would be the last money I’d ask; after that she would be getting money back from me, as soon as I got that ship.”
13
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“During the depression,” said the cowboy to me, “I used to hop freights at least once a month. In those days you’d see hundreds of men riding a flatcar or in a boxcar, and they weren’t just bums, they were all kinds of men out of work and going from one place to another and some of them just wandering.”
14
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“There was a lull when we came in. Gene and Blondey just stood there, looking at nobody; all they wanted was cigarettes. There were some pretty girls, too. And one of them made eyes at Blondey and he never saw it, and if he had he wouldn’t have cared, he was so sad and gone.”
15
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“It was a warm and beautiful day for hitchhiking. To get out of the impossible complexities of Chicago traffic I took a bus to Joliet, Illinois, went by the Joliet pen, stationed myself just outside town after a walk through its leafy rickety streets behind, and pointed my way. All the way from New York to Joliet by bus, and I had spent more than half my money.”
16
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“Suddenly we came down from the mountain and overlooked the great sea-plain of Denver; heat rose as from an oven. We began to sing songs. I was itching to get on to San Francisco.”
17
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“And Carlo began his monkey dance in the streets of life as I’d seen him do so many times everywhere in New York.”
18
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“We were so used to traveling we had to walk all over Long Island, but there was no more land, just the Atlantic Ocean, and we could only go so far. We clasped hands and agreed to be friends forever.”
19
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“I asked him the circumstances of his being in LA in 1944. ‘I was arrested in Arizona, the joint absolutely the worst joint I’ve ever been in. I had to escape and pulled the greatest escape in my life, speaking of escapes, you see, in a general way.‘”
20
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“To make up lost money he pulled tricks in the lot, a change artist of the first order. I saw him wish a well-to-do man Merry Christmas so volubly a five-spot in change for twenty was never missed.”

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