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On the Road | Study Guide

Jack Kerouac

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Course Hero. "On the Road Study Guide." September 23, 2016. Accessed May 28, 2023.


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On the Road | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Winter 1947

    Sal and Dean meet.

    Part 1, Chapter 1
  • July 1947

    Sal hitchhikes from New York to Denver, meeting characters like Eddie and Mississippi Gene on the way.

    Part 1, Chapter 2
  • Autumn 1947

    Sal visits the opera town in the mountains and works as a guard with Remi in the barracks.

    Part 1, Chapter 9
  • Autumn–Winter 1947

    Sal pretends to settle down with Terry but returns to New York when he gets bored.

    Part 1, Chapter 13
  • December 1948

    Sal and Dean move furniture from Virginia to New York and then hit the road for Louisiana.

    Part 2, Chapter 1
  • January 1949

    Sal, Dean, and Marylou stay with Old Bull Lee; they go to San Francisco where Dean abandons them.

    Part 2, Chapter 9
  • Spring 1949

    Sal visits Dean and Camille in San Francisco; Camille gets angry and throws them both out.

    Part 3, Chapter 2
  • Summer 1949

    Dean is wanted by the police, so he and Sal drive a Cadillac to Chicago.

    Part 3, Chapter 8
  • Spring 1950

    Sal, Dean, and Stan drive through Mexico, drinking, partying, and sleeping with prostitutes.

    Part 4, Chapter 5
  • Winter 1950

    Dean visits Sal and Laura in New York; Dean and Sal realize they have grown apart.

    Part 5

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Part 1, Chapter 1 The narrator, a young writer named Sal Paradise, meets Dean Moriarty in the winter of 1947. Sal and his wife have just s... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 2–3 In July after saving $50 from his veteran benefits, Sal heads to San Francisco to stay with his friend Remi Boncoeur a... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 4–5 Two farmers from Minnesota pick Sal up in Nebraska. Sal calls it "the greatest ride in my life," perhaps because the h... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 6–7 Sal immediately looks up Chad, hoping all his friends will be waiting to welcome him. He's surprised to learn that Cha... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 8–10 Everyone begins planning a trip to the mountains, but they know they must first get jobs to fund the adventure. Out of... Read More
Part 1, Chapter 11 When Sal arrives at Remi's house, a note pinned to the front door instructs him to climb in through the window, which he... Read More
Part 1, Chapters 12–14 Back on the road, Sal first hitches a ride with a driver who has recently had his toe amputated, and then with a varie... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 1–3 It's over a year before Sal sees Dean again. During the past year, Sal has finished his novel and met a nice girl name... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 4–5 It's New Year's Eve in New York and Sal, Dean, and Ed Dunkel attend a huge party before heading to New Orleans. As the... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 6–9 Sal, Dean, Marylou, and Ed drive to New Orleans. Along the way, Sal drives for the first time to get "traffic experien... Read More
Part 2, Chapters 10–11 Marylou finds a motel that will let her and Sal stay on credit. They live together for a week, but a few days in, Sal ... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 1–2 When the money from his GI check arrives in the spring of 1949, Sal decides to move to Denver and become "a patriarch.... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 3–4 Roy Johnson agrees to chauffer Dean and Sal for a few nights of partying in San Francisco before they start their adve... Read More
Part 3, Chapter 5 Sal and Dean's first ride is with a "tall thin fag" who drives an "effeminate" car. There are two other passengers, but ... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 6–8 At a restaurant in Denver, Dean jokes about Sal being an old man, which offends Sal. An emotional Dean leaves the rest... Read More
Part 3, Chapters 9–11 Dean continues to drive across Nebraska and Iowa at a steady 110 mph. As he drives he tells more stories from his chil... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 1 Sal sells his book. Feeling the itch to return to the road, Sal prepares to say goodbye to Dean. Since moving to New Yor... Read More
Part 4, Chapters 2–4 Sal takes the bus and quickly crosses the country, though pausing long enough to revisit the great countryside and cit... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 5 As soon as they cross the border, Sal, Dean, and Stan park the car, buy beer and cigarettes, and marvel at the culture. ... Read More
Part 4, Chapter 6 Outside of Gregoria the atmosphere changes. The lights go out on the car, forcing the trio to drive through the jungle i... Read More
Part 5 Part 5 summarizes the next few months: Dean drives the car from Mexico City until it dies, then wires Inez for plane far... Read More
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