25).The reversed event sequences make it interesting, the beginning marking Sal’s present-day account of spending Christmas with his relatives in Virginia, the middle part showing Dean’s surprise and unannounced visit to Sal in Virginia, and the final part describing the events leading to Dean’s unannounced visit to Sal, bridging the beginning with the end.
Kerouac focused the addressee’s attention using sequence markers depicting what came first and last. For example the phrase “It was over a year before I saw Dean again” (Kerouac, 1999, p.101) implies the present setting, continuing until Sal learned that “Dean had lived happily with Camille in San Francisco ever since that fall of 1947…” (Kerouac, 1999, p.104).The phrase “I learned that (Dean had lived…)” prompts a flashback in the story’s timeline on how Dean ended up in Virginia in a car with two other people. Even in the narrative’s reversed sequence of events, subtle context clues and prompts show what happened, what happened next, and what happened after that (Hooey, 2000, p. 25). Contextually this is the narrative’s sequence: Dean compulsively bought a car using Sal as scapegoat to leave her and be on the road. Meanwhile, within the year that these events happened, Sal spent time writing his book at home and going to school. Sometime between Christmas and New Year Sal visited his relatives and brother in Virginia, but was surprised on Christmas Day when Dean and company appeared at his brother’s doorstep. After settling down, Dean told Sal why he visited unannounced (Kerouac, 1999. Kerouac moderates narrative timeline jumps by prompts connecting indirectly-related events. Since people take contexts and subtle links using their own experiences and views, the narrative makes sense even when sequences are reversed (Underhill, 2013, pp 20-22),