On the Road

by: Jack Kerouac

Part III, Chapters 1-4

As Sal's perception of things matures, he begins to depict women with more respect. He feels terrible for Camille, and feels too embarrassed to pass through her bedroom to use the bathroom while she's crying. He even admits to liking Galatea Dunkel, and we see by her kindness toward him that she likes him, too. Dean's powers to please women, meanwhile, are decreasing: when the women berate him for his behavior to Camille, he can't charm himself out of it. Dean is broken down at this point, and this is why Sal defends him. Sal believes that the joy and entertainment Dean has given them all is too precious to discount no mater how abominably he behaves. This scene, along with others, offers important glimpses into the women's world which has until now has not been represented: Sal, noticing a painting of Galatea done by Camille hanging in the living room, realizes that all the time the men have been running around, the women have been creating their own world of "loneliness and womanliness." Another interesting glimpse occurs when Dean tells Sal how Marylou, that "dumb little box," had the exact same visions of meaning and truth on marijuana that Dean had had.

Out at night, Sal and Dean see an alto sax player who "is" Carlo Marx, another man who looks just like Bull Lee. It's as though they are seeing ghosts of people who are no longer alive; their group has fragmented, a time has passed. Sal, too, has changed. He leaves with Dean because of real affection, not the devoted reverence he used to have. If he were deciding for himself only, he would stay longer in San Francisco. Dean needs him now; perhaps because of this, Sal has become purposeful and sure of himself for the first time.