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On The Road


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First Semester Project
Eckard 7

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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On The Road

  1. 1. On The Road { Jack Kerouac "Somewhere along the line I knew thered be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me. On the Road, Part 1, Ch. 1
  2. 2. On the Road is a barely fictional tale about a barely fictional man by the name of Sal Paradise. Sal journeys through life in the 1950’s. His journey reflects that of Kerouac himself. This includes the people he met, his experiences, and his struggles… On The RoadIntroduction:
  3. 3. Kerouac’s Life:  Born Jean Louis Kerouac, although usually referred to as Jack, the author was born March 12, 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts to Leo and Gabrielle Kerouac. Kerouac was raised in a very Catholic environment before being sent to New York City to prepare for college. Once there, he excelled as a student and as an athlete, for which he received scholarships. As expected, Kerouac did very well in college, but after his freshman year, decided the college scene wasn’t for him, and neither was staying put.
  4. 4.  Jack was nimble and Jack was quick; he experimented with many professions in a very short amount of time before finding his niche in writing. He went to Virginia to become a poet. However, after suffering a substantial failure, he tried prose. He published The Town and the City. It was received well, but it was the last time Kerouac would ever write a book of its kind. Jack abandoned the formal ‚writing, revising, rewriting, revising‛ process, and made the switch to something called ‚Spontaneous Prose‛ to write his most famous novel-- On the Road
  5. 5. On the Road  is the story of a man on a search for identity in 1950’s America. His name is Sal Paradise, and he takes comfort in his direct relationship with the road itself. This kind of connection allows for Sal to feel alive.Along the cross-country journey, he runs intotrouble, experiences hardship, abandonment, fear,and love (on multiple occasions). "Whats your road, man?--holyboy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. Its an anywhere road for anybody anyhow." - Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Part 4, Ch. 1
  6. 6. Sal:Sal Paradise, the narrator, lives in New York City,but decides to leave his home and head west forwhat is promised to be a better life. Sal is an intellect, a writer, a frustrated romantic, and happens to be the alter-ego of Kerouac. He travels thousands of miles by hitchhiking, walking, and only when dire, paying to take a bus. Along his cross country journey, he meets friends and falls in love on more than one occasion.
  7. 7. Dean Moriarty: Along Sal’s journey, he meets many eccentric people. However, the most important is Dean Moriarty. Dean is an attractive, energetic, and charming drifter from Denver. Dean’s seemingly innate tendency to rebel and live for the moment reflects the attitude of the youth of time, as well as drives the novel’s plot with exciting adventures, but also, on occasion, disappointing circumstances. Dean is based upon real-life friend of Kerouac– Neal Cassidy.
  8. 8. Historical Background: On the Road was written in a time of Post WWII America. The U.S. had just dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which finally forced a Japanese surrender. Although the U.S. came out the victor and the leader of the west, there was a very anxious and nervous feeling caused by the war, the Holocaust, and the atomic bomb.
  9. 9.  Even though On the Road is not a blatantly political novel, it is safe to assume that Kerouac was influenced, to say the least, by the politics going on in America while he wrote the novel. Evidence of this is shown in the novel when Jack writes, ‚When a man dies, he undergoes a sort of mutation that we know nothing about now, but we which will be very clear someday, if scientists get on the ball. The bastards right now are only interested in seeing if they can blow up the world‛ (Faulkner 190).
  10. 10.  This kind of negative attitude toward the policies of the country are what brought together the group of dissatisfied youth called the ‚ Beats ‛
  11. 11. The Beatswere usually writers, poets, or artists of adifferent kind, who rebelled against 1950’sculture of America with literature, love, andart. Kerouac is quoted to have said, ‚It’s a kind of furtiveness… Like we were a generation of furtives. You know, with an inner knowledge that there’s no use flaunting on that level of the ‘public’, a kind of beatness. I mean, being right down to it, ourselves. Because we all really know where we were and a weariness with all the conventions and all the forms of the world… So, I guess you might say we’re a beat generation…‛ (Faulkner 191)
  12. 12. Literary Devices: As previously noted, Kerouac used ‚spontaneous prose‛ to craft his novel On the Road. Using such a technique allows for a deeper, more direct connection from author to reader. The reader is able to digest immediately what the author intends. Kerouac’s prose was so spontaneous, the novel was finished in three weeks and was typed on one giant roll of typewriter paper.
  13. 13. Roman á Clef  In addition to spontaneous prose, Kerouac used Roman á Clef (translated: a novel with a key). This means the novel he wrote was based around real events. The characters were based on real people. And the events really took place.Sal Paradise- Jack Kerouac’s alter egoDean Moriarty- Neal CassidyCamille Moriarty- Carolyn CassidyCarlo Marx- Allen Ginsburg
  14. 14. Critics/The Way the Novelwas ReceivedCritic’s response to the novel was very divided. Generally,one either loved or hated it. The New York Times gave it anexcellent review, and it quickly reached number 7 on thebestseller list. On the other hand, some critics sided with Norman Podhoretz, who declared the novel as ‚adolescent and incoherent‛. Whether one loves or hates the novel, it is hard to argue its impact on American society. It is comfortably sitting at the top of the major works of the 20th century.
  15. 15. Kerouac’s last days:  In his later life, Kerouac suffered from depression and alcoholism. On October 21, 1969, Kerouac passed away. Although he is no longer alive, his legacy very much is. He will forever be remembered for his beautiful, inspirational poetry and prose.
  16. 16. "And for just a moment I hadreached the point of ecstasythat I always wanted to reach,which was the complete stepacross chronological time intotimeless shadows, andwonderment in the bleaknessof the mortal realm, and thesensation of death kicking atmy heels to move on, with aphantom dogging its ownheels..."- Jack Kerouac, On the Road