48 Big Sur Quotes by Jack Kerouac

Big Sur is a 1961 novel written by Jack Kerouac.

It tells the story of Jack Duluoz, Kerouac’s alter ego and his three visits to a cabin in Big Sur, California.

Big Sur by Jack Kerouac

I have curated some of the top quotes from Big Sur novel.

Big Sur Quotes by Jack Kerouac

“Becoming acquainted and swallowing fears and settling down to life in the little cabin with its warm glow of woodstove and kerosene lamp and let the ghosts fly their asses off.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“I see as much as doors’ll allow, open or shut” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“I feel guilty for being a member of the human race. ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“The sea roar is bad enough except it keeps bashing and barking at me like a dog in the fog down there, sometimes it booms the earth but my God where is the earth and how can the sea be underground!” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“And when the fog’s over and the stars and the moon come out at night it’ll be a beautiful sight.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“In fact we’re all strangers with strange eyes sitting in a midnight living room for nothing” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“The eyes of hope looking over the flare of the hood into the maw with its white line feeding in straight as an arrow, the lighting of fresh cigarettes, the buckling to lean forward to the next adventure something that’s been going on in America ever since the covered wagons clocked the deserts in three months flat.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“All I know is that I’m a helpless hunk of helpful horse manure looking in your eye saying Help me ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“…in one sense the drinker learns wisdom, in the words of Goethe or Blake or whichever it was “The pathway to wisdom lies through excess” (p. 113)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

Other Related Books Quotes: The Dogs I Have Kissed Quotes by Trista Mateer and The Joy Luck Club Quotes by Amy Tan

Quotes from Big Sur

“And it’s finally only in the woods you get that nostalgia for “cities” at last, you dream of long gray journeys to cities where soft evenings’ll unfold like Paris but never seeing how sickening it will be because of the primordial innocence of health and stillnes in the wilds- So I tell myself “Be Wise.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“And a bird who was on a crooked branch is suddenly gone without my even hearing him.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Because he was always tremendously generated towards complete relationship with his women to the point where they ended up in one convoluted octopus mess of souls and tears and fellatio and hotel room schemes and rubbing in and out of cars and doors and great crises in the middle of the night… (p. 128)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“God who is everything possesses the eye of awakening, like dreaming a long dream of an impossible task.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Back in the cabin I light the fire and sit sighing and there are leaves skittering on the tin roof, it’s August in Big Sur — I fall asleep in the chair and when I wake up I’m facing the thick little tangled woods outside the door and I suddenly remember them from long ago” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“We all agree it’s too big to keep up with, that we’re surrounded by life, that we’ll never understand it, so we center it all in by swigging Scotch from the bottle and when it’s empty I run out of the car and buy another one, period.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

Famous Big Sur Quotes by Jack Kerouac

“It’s hard to explain and best thing to do is not be false.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Nothing ever happened – Not even this ” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Only a silly sober fool could think it; imagine gloating over such nonsense (because in one sense the drinker learns wisdom, in the words of Goethe or Blake or whichever it was “the pathway to wisdom lies through excess”)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“In seeking to severely penalize criminals society by putting the criminals away behind safe walls actually provide them with the means of greater strength for future atrocities glorious and otherwise.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“But what’s all this giving of ourselves, what’s there to give that’ll help anybody” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Lying mouth to mouth, kiss to kiss in the pillow dark, loin to loin in unbelievable surrendering sweetness so distant from all our mental fearful abstractions it makes you wonder why men have termed God antisexual somehow (p. 148)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“All over America highschool and college kids thinking ‘Jack Duluoz is 26 years old and on the road all the time hitch hiking’ while there I am almost 40 years old, bored and jaded” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Little absent from everything in the way of a Zen Master actually who realizes that everything is indifferent anyway,” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Something good will come out of all things yet–And it will be golden and eternal just like that–There’s no need to say another word.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Cliches are truisms and all truisms are true” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“But there’s no joy at all, people say “Oh well he’s drunk and happy let him sleep it off”–The poor drunkard is crying–He’s crying for his mother and father and great brother and great friend, he’s crying for help. (p.111)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

Great Big Sur Quotes by Jack Kerouac

“…because in one sense the drinker learns wisdom, in the words of Goethe or Blake or whichever it was “The pathway to wisdom lies through excess” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“I realize I’m just a silly stranger goofing with other strangers for no reason far away from anything that ever mattered to me what that was–Always an ephemeral “visitor” to the Coast nevery really involved with anyone’s lives there because I’m always ready to fly back across the country but not to any life of my own on the other end either, just a traveling stranger like Old Bull Balloon… (p. 178)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“I dunno, remember when we were in East St. Louis with George, and Jack you said you’d love those beautiful dancing girls if you knew they would live forever as beautiful as they are?” (p. 173)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“An awful realization that I have been fooling myself all my life thinking there was a next thing to do to keep the show going and actually I’m just a sick clown and so is everybody else…” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Everybody saying “O how wonderful life is, how miraculous, God made this and God made that”, how do you know he doesnt hate what He did: He might even be drunk and not noticing what he went and done” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“And in fact I can see in Cody’s eyes that he can see in my own eyes the regret we both feel that recently we havent had chances to talk whatever,” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“But anybody who’s never had delirium tremens even in their early stages may not understand that it’s not so much a physical pain but a mental anguish indescribable to those ignorant people who dont drink and accuse drinkers of irresponsibility.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Actually I’m just a sick clown and so is everybody else.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

Thought-Provoking Big Sur Quotes

“The empty blue sky of space says ‘All this comes back to me, then goes again, and comes back again, then goes again, and I don’t care, it still belongs to me” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“You were my last chance’ she’s said but don’t all women say that? – But can it be by ‘last chance’ she doesn’t mean mere marriage but some profoundly sad realization of something in me she really needs to go on living, at least that impression coming across anyway on the force of all the gloom we’ve shared -” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“…because to me the only thing that matters is the conceptions in my own mind, there has to be no reality anyway to what I suppose is going on (p. 153)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“And I shudder sometimes to think of all that stellar mystery of how she IS going to get me in a future lifetime, wow – And I seriously do believe that will be my salvation, too. A long way to go.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“…Cody is furiously explaining to his little son Tim ‘Never let the right hand know what your left hand is doing’… Page 100.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“The whole world’s coming on like a high school sophomore eager to learn what he calls New things, mind you, the same old sing-song sad song truth of death . . . because the reason I yell death so much is because I’m really yelling life, because you cant have death without life,” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“So easy in the woods to daydream and pray to the local spirits and say “Allow me to stay here, I only want peace” and those foggy peaks answer back mutely Yes” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“The more ups and downs, the more joy I feel. The greater the fear, the greater the happiness I feel.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“Ordinarily the death of a cat means little to most men, a lot to fewer men, but to me, and that cat, it was exactly and no lie and sincerely like the death of my little brother – I loved Tyke with all my heart” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“It always makes me proud to love the world somehow- hate’s so easy compared.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“One night I was meditating in such perfect stillness that two mosquitoes came and sat on each of my cheekbones and stayed there a long time without biting and then went away.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“It’ll take you eternities to get rid of me,’ she adds sadly, which makes me jealous, I want her to say I’ll never get rid of her – I wanta be chased till eternity till I catch her.” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).

“And I realize the unbearable anguish of insanity: how uninformed people can be thinking insane people are “happy,” O God, in fact it was Irwin Garden once warned me not to think the madhouses are full of “happy nuts.” (p. 200)” ~ Jack Kerouac (Big Sur).



A passionate writer who specializes in writing book reviews. I spent most of my time lost in the pages of novels and bestsellers, immersing myself in different worlds and stories. This love for reading eventually led me to pursue a career in writing.

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