On The Road – The Original Scroll – Bea

Old Pickup somewhere in California

I have just been reading the part in On The Road where Jack Kerouac meets Bea in Bakersfield and has a few intense weeks with her and her extended family. It’s not an easy time, he feels head over heels in love with her, and as she is Mexican, and therefore one of the people he calls ‘the fellaheen’, with which he always felt a close bond with (‘They thought I was an Mexican; of course. And I am’) is endlessly intrigued with her. But like most of his relationships with women it can’t last, mainly due to familiar reasons on her and economic reasons on both sides. But the lifestyle they are leading in these few short weeks is naturally very appealing to him, sleeping in tents, cheap motels/hotels, in a barn. What becomes obvious once again in his writing in this part is the interest in most of the people he encounters, at least at that stage of his life. He wants to get to know them all, from the Mexicans he meets through Bea, to the people from Nebraska and Oklahoma they meet picking cotton, and the people he sees on LA’s Skid Row. When he leaves her, she tells him she’ll be coming to New York in a few weeks time, but he instinctly knows that that won’t be the case and is, I felt, strangely detached writing about his leaving – which is probably indicitive of his character and the problems he had with women and relationships in general.

5 Responses to “On The Road – The Original Scroll – Bea”
  1. Pitoucat says:

    Have you ever seen a photo of Bea Franco?

    There’s one on my website (see below)

  2. Pitoucat says:

    My website — The Kerouac Companion:


  3. Richard says:

    Great write up. I love the way Sal is so intrigued with the people around him. I’m rarely very good at this, but it’s definitely something to aspire to. There’s going to be a On the Road film soon. Hopefully, they’ll be able to convey the fascination Sal (and Kerouac) had for other people.

    • JHaeske says:

      Thank you Richard. Yes, that was def. one of his admirable traits, although that changed somewhat for the worse later in his life, sadly.
      Looking forward to the film as well, but I am rather sceptical about the depiction of the people like him, Cassady and the others on the screen. We’ll see.
      Thanks again and take care!

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  1. […] On the Road — The Original Scroll — Bea on Retracing Kerouac […]

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