Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hetero- and Homo-Social Relationships in Jack Kerouac's On the Road

So I was going to write a whole post about how the homo-social relationships between the men of On the Road affected their heterosexual relationships with the women, but I really can't force myself to do so. Suffice it to say, all the guy-on-guy emotional relating really gets in the way when it comes to their relationships with women, as shown by the following quotations. If anyone wants to write a paper on the homo-and hetero-social relationships in On the Road, feel free to glean what you can from them, but allow me to say this: men can be pigs. That is all.

"Out on the dawn street Dean said, 'Now you see, man, there's a real woman for you. Never a harsh word, never a complaint, or modified; her old man can come in any hour of the night with anybody and have talks in the kitchen and drink the beer and leave any old time. This is a man, and that's his castle'" (204).

"All along the way Galatea Dunkel, Ed's new wife, kept complaining that she was tired and wanted to sleep in a motel. If this kept up they'd spend all her money long before Virginia. [...] By the time they got to Tucson she was broke. Dean and Ed gave her the slip in a hotel lobby and resumed the voyage alone, with the sailor, and without a qualm" (111).

"a love she knew would never bear fruit because when she looked at his hangjawed bony face with its male self-containment and absentmindedness she knew he was too mad" (163).

"He wrote of Dean as a 'child of the rainbow' who bore his torment in his agonized priapus. He referrred to him as 'Oedipus Eddie' who had to 'scrape bubble gum off windowpanes.' He brooded in his basement over a huge journal in which he was keeping track of everything that happened every day--everything Dean did and said" (47).

"he wanted me to work Marylou. I didn't ask him why because I knew he wanted to see what Marylou was like with another man. [...] Dean told her what we had decided. She said she was pleased. I wasn't so sure myself" (131).

"'The schedule is this: I came off work a half-hour ago. In that time Dean is balling Marylou at the hotel and gives me time to change and dress. At one sharp he rushes from Marylou to Camille--of course neither one of them knows what's going on--and bangs her once, giving me time to arrive at one-thirty. Then he comes out with me--first he has to beg with Camille, who's already started hating me--and we come here to talk till six in themorning. We usually spend more time than that, but it's getting awfully complicated and he's pressed for time. Then at six he goes back to Marylou--and he's going to spend all day tomorrow running around to get the necessary papers for their divorce. Marylou's all for it, but she insists on banging in the interim. She says she loves him--so does Camille'" (42).

"I tied to show this haunted woman that I had no mean intentions concerning her home life by saying hello to her and talking as warmly as i could, but she knew it was a con and maybe one I'd learned from Dean, and only gave a brief smile" (187).

"I suddenly realized that all these women were spending months of loneliness and womanliness together, chatting about the madness of the men" (187).

"There were earlier days in Denver when Dean had everybody wit in the dark with the girls and just talked, and talked, and talked, with a voice that was once hypnotic and strange and was said to make the girls come across by sheer force of persuasion and the content of what he said. [...] Now his disciples were married and the wives of his disciples had him on the carpet for the sexuality and the life he had helped bring into being" (194-5).

"This was exactly what he had been doing with Camille in Frisco on the other side of the continent. The same battered trunk stuck out from under the bed, ready to fly. Inez called up Camille on the phone repeatedly and had long talks with her; they even talked about his joint, or so Dean claimed. They exchanged letters about Dean's eccentricities" (250).

"The woman was a great man's woman and took to Dean right away but she was bashful and he was bashful. She said Dean reminded her of the husband gone" (215).

"They sat on the bed cross-legged and looked straight at each other. I crouched in a nearby chair and saw all of it. They began with an abstract thought, discussed it; reminded each other of another abstract point forgotten in the rush of events; Dean apologized but promised he could get back to it and manage it fine, bring up illustrations" (48).

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