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Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” Quotes (85 Quotes)


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  • Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • I had traveled eight thousand miles around the American continent and I was back on Times Square; and right in the middle of a rush hour, too, seeing with my innocent road-eyes the absolute madness and fantastic hoorair of New York with its millions and millions hustling forever for a buck among themselves, the mad dream-grabbing, taking, giving, sighing, dying, just so they could be buried in those awful cemetery cities beyond Long Island City.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • If you can't boogie I know I'll show you how.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • Prison is where you promise yourself the right to live.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • They have worries, they're counting the miles, they're thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they'll get there - and all the time they'll get there anyway, you see.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")


  • But they need to worry and betray time with urgencies false and otherwise, purely anxious and whiny, their souls really won't be at peace unless they can latch to an established and proven worry and having once found it they assume facial expressions to fit and go with it, which is, you see, unhappiness, and all the time it all flies by them and they know it and that too worries them no end.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • I have finally taught Dean that he can do anything he wants, become mayor of Denver, marry a millionairess, or become the greatest poet since Rimbaud. But he keeps rushing out to see the midget auto races
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • In my madness I was actually in love with her for the few hours it all lasted; it was the same unmistakable ache and stab across the mind, the same sighs, the same pain, and above all the same reluctance and fear to approach.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • She spoke of evenings in the country making popcorn on the porch. Once this would have gladdened my heart but because her heart was not glad when she said it I knew there was nothing in it but the idea of what one should do.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • They spent all week saving pennies and went out Saturdays to spend fifty bucks in three hours.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • Dean and I both swayed to the rhythm and the IT of our final excited joy in talking and living to the blank traced end of all innumerable riotous angelic particulars that had been lurking in our souls all our lives.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • I left with my canvas bag in which a few fundamental things were packed and took off for the Pacific Ocean with the fifty dollars in my pocket.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • In the hall itself the din of the music - for this is the real way to play a jukebox and what it was originally for - was so tremendous that it shattered Dean and Stan and me for a moment in the realization that we had never dared to play music as we wanted, and this was how loud we wanted.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • She was a nice little girl, simple and true, and tremendously frightened of sex. I told her it was beautiful. I wanted to prove this to her. She let me prove it, but I was too impatient and proved nothing.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")

  • They were like the man with the dungeon stone and gloom, rising from the underground, the sordid hipsters of America, a new beat generation that I was slowly joining.
    (Jack Kerouac, "On the Road")


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