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On the Road

Uploaded by christina17aus on Aug 18, 2000

Jack Kerouac was born in Massachusetts, in 1922. Kerouac quit school and joined the Merchant Marine, starting the travels which would become ‘On the Road’ his most acclaimed novel. It is said to be an account of Kerouac's ("Sal Paradise’s") travels with Neal Cassady ("Dean Moriarty"). According to Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac typed the first draft of On the Road on a fifty-foot long roll of paper.

On the Road gave an outlet of release for the dissatisfied young generation of the late forties and early fifties. And although it has been fifty years since the events in On the Road, the feelings, ideas and experiences in the novel are still fresh as expressions of restless, idealistic youth who need something more than the dull harmonies of the generally prosperous society.

During the winter of 1947, the reckless and joyous Dean Moriarty, recently out of another term in jail and newly married, comes to New York and meets Sal Paradise, a young writer with a sharp group of friends. Dean fascinates Sal, and this friendship begins three years of journeys back and forth across the country.

Sal had heard all about Dean from Chad King, who Dean used to write to from jail, and was intrigued. Dean spoke formally, in long rambling sentences and Sal's first impression of Dean is that he was like a young Gene Autry.

He likes Dean because of his exuberance, eagerness, uneducated intelligence, and what he sees as Dean's Western spirit, which is much different from Sal's other friends, "intellectuals" or criminals.

On the Road is a novel centered on characters, moods, places, visions described, and above all, the unceasing movement of the characters more than of plot. It is all focused on the hero, Dean Moriarty. The scene is established, with descriptions of Sal's life before he met Dean. Sal after splitting up with his wife and recovering from a serious illness feels depressed, tired and motionless. Sal has always dreamed of the West, which he has never experienced, when Dean, the personification of Sal's dream of the West, arrives and sparks everything into motion.

Throughout the novel there is a clear division of ideas of the East (intellectual, stagnant, old, saddened and critical) compared to the ideas of the West (passionate, young, exuberant and wild).

The characters in “On the road” are often described with the attributes of the places which they are from, or rather, Sal's...

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Uploaded by:   christina17aus

Date:   08/18/2000

Category:   Literature

Length:   4 pages (867 words)

Views:   1203

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