Sal Paradise

Sal Paradise

    On the Road
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... on the road! Although Sal has a place in New York, he's tired of staying in one place. After meeting Dean Moriarty, a free spirit with an infectious love for life, Sal is inspired to abandon domesticity and join Dean on a trip across America. Hitch-hiking, and speeding down the highway, they make their way not just West, but towards "the magic land at the end of the road."

Profession... aspiring writer. It's part of the reason Sal travels with Dean in the first place. After all, who else could provide Sal with such good material?

Interests... drinking, kissing, and living life to the fullest – within limits, of course. While Sal might follow his friends to jazz clubs and bars, he's more of a follower than a leader and has some boundaries on what he's willing to try.

Relationship Status... divorced, but getting over it. Splitting up with his wife took a serious toll on Sal, and for a long time it felt like, "everything was dead." Hanging out with Dean, however, turns out to be a wonderful distraction from his relationship problems – especially when Sal and Dean keep running into so many pretty girls.

Challenge... getting the most out of life. San Francisco, Chicago, Mexico City – Dean and Sal are traveling all over, and Sal's having the wildest time of his life. There are times, however, when the excitement fades, and Sal is left wondering what it is, exactly, that he's trying to do.

Personality... sensitive, creative, and highly susceptible. Sal's trying to live the way Dean and his friends do, but in truth, he's still a little too cautious to truly embrace the bohemian lifestyle. He's better at being a bystander, and there's no one he'd rather watch than Dean and friends: "The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved."


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