30+ quotes from On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Quotes from On the Road

Jack Kerouac ·  307 pages

Rating: (292.4K votes)


“[...]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“The best teacher is experience and not through someone's distorted point of view”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk — real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“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. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars...”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going 'till we get there.'
'Where we going, man?'
'I don't know but we gotta go.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you're alive to see?”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars'll be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“My aunt once said that the world would never find peace until men fell at their women's feet and asked for forgiveness. ”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgandy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“We agreed to love each other madly.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“What do you want out of life?" I asked, and I used to ask that all the time of girls.
I don't know," she said. "Just wait on tables and try to get along." She yawned. I put my hand over her mouth and told her not to yawn. I tried to tell her how excited I was about life and the things we could do together; saying that, and planning to leave Denver in two days. She turned away wearily. We lay on our backs, looking at the ceiling and wondering what God had wrought when He made life so sad.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“I just won't sleep," I decided. There were so many other interesting things to do.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotuslands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven. I could hear an indescribable seething roar which wasn't in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn't remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of the wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment. But I didn't die...”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“LA is the loneliest and most brutal of American cities; NY gets god-awful cold in the winter but there's a feeling of wacky comradeship somewhere in some streets. LA is a jungle.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“Better to sleep in an uncomfortable bed free, than sleep in a comfortable bed unfree.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“His friends said, "Why do you have that ugly thing hanging there?" and Bull said, "I like it because it's ugly." All his life was in that line.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“Sure baby, mañana. It was always mañana. For the next few weeks that was all I heard––mañana a lovely word and one that probably means heaven.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“For the first time in my life the weather was not something that touched me, that caressed me, froze or sweated me, but became me. ”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“Ah, it was a fine night, a warm night, a wine-drinking night, a moony night, and a night to hug your girl and talk and spit and be heavengoing.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“...we all must admit that everything is fine and there's no need in the world to worry, and in fact we should realize what it would mean to us to UNDERSTAND that we're not REALLY worried about ANYTHING.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


“As we crossed the Colorado-Utah border I saw God in the sky in the form of huge gold sunburning clouds above the desert that seemed to point a finger at me and say, "Pass here and go on, you're on the road to heaven.”
― Jack Kerouac, quote from On the Road


Video

About the author

Jack Kerouac
Born place: in Lowell, Massachusetts, The United States
Born date March 12, 1922
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, quote from Anne of Green Gables


“His ear heard more than what was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.”
― John Steinbeck, quote from Of Mice and Men


“Though sympathy alone can't alter facts, it can help to make them more bearable.”
― Bram Stoker, quote from Dracula


“A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.”
― Aldous Huxley, quote from Brave New World


“Muchos años después, frente al pelotón de fusilamiento, el coronel Aureliano Buendía había de recordar aquella tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo. Macondo era entonces una aldea de 20 casas de barro y cañabrava construidas a la orilla de un río de aguas diáfanas que se precipitaban por un lecho de piedras pulidas, blancas y enormes como huevos prehistóricos. El mundo era tan reciente, que muchas cosas carecían de nombre, y para mencionarlas había que señalarlas con el dedo".”
― Gabriel García Márquez, quote from One Hundred Years of Solitude


Interesting books

Medea
(45.6K)
Medea
by Euripides
This Side of Paradise
(50.3K)
This Side of Paradis...
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Son of the Shadows
(24.8K)
Son of the Shadows
by Juliet Marillier
Martin Eden
(16.9K)
Martin Eden
by Jack London
By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
(74.7K)
By the River Piedra...
by Paulo Coelho
Deity
(44.4K)
Deity
by Jennifer L. Armentrout

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.