Jack Kerouac wasborn inLowell,Massachusetts, in 1922.He was educated byjesuit brothers inLowell, where he wastaught to make senseof guilt and represssexuality. At first hespoke only french butin the end hesucceceded inspeaking English.LIFE"I had a wonderful childhood, my father wasa printer in Lowell, Mass., spent day andnight running through fields and along thebanks of the river “Jack Kerouac
He wrote his first novel ‘’THECOP ON THE BEAT’’ when hewas only 11.He decided to become awriter at the age ofseventeen and developed hisown writing style, which hecalled ‘’spontaneous prose’’.In 1940 he attended theColumbia University withoutreceiving a degree becausehe left the studies.
In 1944 he met Lucien Carr, who introducedhim to William Burroughs and AllenGinsberg, with whom he created theoriginal core of the Beat generation. Themost important meeting for his life he hadin 1946, when he met Neal Cassady, ayoung man who had had the experience ofthe reformatory and literary interests, whobecame for Kerouac the symbol of truemarginalization and the source of literaryinspiration.
BEAT GENERATIONThe term ‘’Beat Generation’’ was inventedby Kerouac in 1948 and introduced to thegeneral public in 1952 when one ofKerouac’s friends wrote an article ‘This IsThe Beat Generation’ for the New YorkTimes Magazine. The original word ‘beat’means ‘tired, dissatisfied’.In fact the Beats were a group of youngpeople who reacted against the spread ofcapitalism and puritanical standardsmiddle-class values of US society. But theword ‘beat’ has a second meaning :‘beatific’ or sacred and holy. Kerouacexplained many times that by describing hisgeneration as beat he was trying to capturethe secret holiness of the oppressed.Beat generation was different from LostGeneration of 1920’s because Beats werenot lost but they were searching foranswers to all life’s questions.
In 1942 he authored his firstnovel , ‘’ The Sea is MyBrother’’ published in 2011,42 years after Kerouac’sdeath. In 1944 he wasarrested as a materialwitness in the murder ofDavid Kammerer, who hadbeen stalking Kerouac’sfriend Lucien Carr. He wroteabout the killing in his novel‘’ Vanity of Duluoz’’.
. He chronicledparts of his ownexperience withBuddhism in TheDharma Bums.Kerouac alsowrote andnarrated a Beatmovie titled PullMy Daisy.
The CBS Television series ROUTE66, featuring two young men onthe road in a Corvette seekingadventure and fueling theirtravels by apparently plentifultemporary jobs in the various U.S.locales, gave the impression ofbeing a commercially sanitizedmisappropriation of Kerouac’s ‘’On The Road’’. In 1968 heappeared on the television showFiring Line, he was drunk andstarted talking about the 1960scounterculture in what would behis last appearance on television.In 1969 at the age 47, he diedfrom internal bleeding due tolong-standing abuse of alcoholand drugs.
ON THE ROAD is anautobiographical noveland it was written in1951 and published in1957 by Viking Press. In1998, the Modern libraryranked ON THE ROAD55th on its list of the 100best English-languagenovels of the 20thcentury.
The novel contains five parts ,three of them describing roadtrips.The narrative takes place in theyears 1947 to 1950 and marks aspecific era in jazz history. Thenovel is largely autobiographical,Sal being the alter ego of theauthor and Dean standing forNeal Cassady. Kerouac providesnot only the story of a literaryjourney but also that of anintense internal quest and apursuit of freedom and self-determination.
The first section describes Sal’s firsttrip to San Francisco. His lifechanges when he meets DeanMoriarity.Dean Moriarty , Neal Cassady, livesin Denver and whose lifestyle is incontrast with the bourgeoisconception of the necessity ofhaving a fixed work, a good degreeand responsibility. Dean has only aninterest for a full life, made ofcountless experiences and wants toknow the immensity of the NorthAmerican continent, the thrill ofsex, jazz music, the heateddiscussions with friends, under theinfluence of Alcohol andBenzedrine.Part 1
In part 2 we talk aboutthe history of the travelsof Sal and Dean, fromChristmas 1948 toFebruary 1949.Part 2
The third part describes Sal’s permanence inDenver and in New york. Then he decidesto reach Dean in Denver.After a long car ride, he finally finds Dean inDenver, Colorado, and he leads with him ,for about two years, a nomadic life. Salrealizes that with the passing of time theanxiety of his friend, which leads him toexperience all that may be new andforbidden, is due to its inability to adapt tosociety.Sal, after every trip, feels worse and wantsto start over, to have a fixed place and a job.He comes back to New York and begins toattend the college and to lead a normal lifebut after reviewing Dean, who instead ofstopping after each attempt to travel again,he decides to leave.Part3
The fourth part talksabout the meetingbetween Sal and Deanin the summer of 1950,Sals trip to Denver, thetrip with Dean inMexico, where thebreak occurs betweenSal and Dean.Part4
The fifth part is aboutSal’s last trip fromMexico City to NewYork, in autumn 1950,Sal’s meeting in Laredowith Laura, JoanHaverty, who becameKerouac’s second wife.Part5
From the stilistic point ofview,Kerouac’s work representsan important novelty in theinternational literature. He starts anew style :’’ the spontaneousprose’’. According to him writingmeans expressing whatever comesinto the mind: a thought, an idea,a scene or an episode, ordered asthe mind recalls. Theunsophisticated language used inthis novel has been defined ‘HIPTALK’(which is ‘streetlanguage’).It is characterized by itsimmediancy and its rapidflow,similar to that of jazz music.Thestyle
•TRAVEL AS SELF-DISCOVERY: the protagonistleaves everything and starts his travel for searchinghimself, but in the end he realizes that he doesn’tneed to travel to discover himself, but just look inside.•FRIENDSHIP: Sal finds out that his friendship toDean goes beyond the surface reality. He lives a sortof mystical friendship which will never die even whenDean leaves him dying in City of New Mexico.•REJECTION OF AUTHORITY:the life that Sal andDean want to live is one that rejects all notions ofauthority and rule. During their travels they arealways observed by the police, but when they arrivein New Mexico they find a large measure of freedom;THE MAIN THEMES
ON THE ROAD portrays the story of a fiercepersonal quest for meaning and belonging.This comes at an interesting point in theAmerican history when conformity was praisedand outsiders were suspect. The BeatGeneration arose out of a time of intenseconflict, both internally and externally. In thisperiod U.S.A. were engaged to fight againstcomunism and the Sovietic forces. People wereliving a suffocating atmosphere and believedthat there would have been a new bloody war.The historical context influenced the literaryone. As a result the literature became a greatinstrument of protest. For this reasonKerouac’s literary production inspiredmovements such as antimilitarism against theVietnam war, Hippy, peace movements andthose of May ‘68.HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
"My work as one big book likethat of Proust, only that mymemories are written fromtime to time. Because of theobjections of my first editors Icould serve the same peoplesnames in each book. chaptersthat are not the whole work Icall it The Legend of Duluozseen through the eyes of poorTi Jean (me), otherwiseknown as Jack Duluoz »(Jack Kerouac, 1962)
Kerouac wanted to make amovie from the book andproposed to Marlon Brandoto work with him but in theend it all came to nothing.The shooting of a filmadaptation have started inAugust 4,2010 directed byWalter Salles. The movie willbe shown in the competitionat Cannes 2012. It will bereleased the 5th of october inthe italian cinemas.CURIOSITIES
The End Benedicta Marinelli Classe 5^D Anno Scolastico 2011/2012