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Explore the depiction and the significance of the journey in Jack Kerouacs On the Road

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Explore the depiction and the significance of the journey in Jack Kerouac?s ?On the Road? In Jack Kerouac?s ?On the Road? Sal Paradise, an intelligent and romantic idealist narrates his journeys across America in a conversational and frenetic style; one that reflects the impulsive ideology that he and his ?beat? friends lived by. He journies with his best friend, Dean Moriarty, ?a young jailkid shrouded in mystery?, who arguably epitomises the ?beat generation? with his perpetual desire to keep moving, mimetic to the breath-taking rapidity at which the plot moves. Dean arrives in the opening of the novel like a ?manic angel? to rescue the narrator from depression and boredom with the promise of a journey. Furthermore, as is the case for much of the rest of the novel, the powerful bond between Sal and Dean drives the story and ultimately becomes the foundation for their aimless ?ping-ponging? across America . The journey is also a search for Sal?s self-identity which is arguably fulfilled at the end of the novel after he leaves Dean. ...read more.


This is also reflected in the manic and the destructive way that Dean drives, ?He took the wheel and flew the rest of the way across the state of Texas, about five hundred miles, arriving at dusk and not stopping?. This aimless travelling could suggest that the journey is just a means to escape from their problems. During their travelling, there is a distinct lack of any aims or goals; they meet many interesting characters but no actual deep relationships. On the bus to LA, Sal meets Terry, a young beautiful Mexican-American woman, and they fall in love. However, he refuses this happiness and leaves for New York by himself, ?Terry was supposed to drive to New York in a month with her brother. But we both knew that she wouldn?t make it?. This also highlights Sal?s desire to break the boundaries of modern society, representative of the entire ?beat generation?. It is therefore interesting that Sal and Dean, who ?had four little ones and not a cent? decided not to go to Italy, as it shows a level of maturity unseen in the novel. ...read more.


This imagery appears again in his description of Dean as a ?sideburned hero of the snowy west?. This contrasts hugely with Sal?s otherwise conversational and unsentimental narration, which is full of both colloquial language and hyperbolic descriptions, symbolic of the bursting enthusiasm with which Dean approaches life. ?On the Road? is an unconventional novel, written in the post-modernism era. This was an interpretation of both the Victorian conventions of what was thought a novel should be, and the modernist views that it was no longer necessary for a novel to have a plot. In this novel Jack Kerouac skilfully weaves a combination of the two, creating an enthralling and beautifully descriptive book in which ?not much happens?. The journey does not necessarily have to have a point, except purely to enjoy the ride. Sal and Dean set out on this journey for the stories that they could tell afterwards and although during the book Sal has difficulty to write, symbolic of the years Kerouac took to publish ?On the Road?, in the end he finishes his book, which is full of the travels that he had with his companion Dean Moriarty. ...read more.

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