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What impression of Sal & Dean and the world they live in emerges in the opening of On the Road?

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Introduction

´╗┐What impression of Sal, Dean and the world they live in emerges in the opening of ?On the Road?? ?On the Road? is a novel of characters more than of plot, of moods and places, visions described, and above all, the unceasing movement of the characters. It is narrated by Sal Paradise but the novel is undeniably centred on the hero, the manic ?young jailkid?, Dean Moriarty. The opening scene is set with exposition of descriptions of Sal's life before Dean, and foreshadowing of their sadder, older lives after this period. In the opening line, Sal describes how he has just split with his wife and recovered from a serious illness ?feeling that everything was dead?. ...read more.

Middle

He is paradoxically trying to find stability by moving. In the first-person narrative, we can only see the world from Sal?s perspective: both his thoughts and his feelings. Sal thinks in verbose descriptive impressions and long, rambling sentences, like the way Sal and Dean and Carlo talk, and dense paragraphs. The sentences attain a breathless quality, skilfully embodying the excitement and the frenetic motion of the characters and events. However, the language is sometimes elegiac, suggesting Sal's nostalgia for a past that is irretrievably gone. Sal describes his friends as thoroughly and truthfully as he can, and seems to also depict himself truthfully, sometimes self-deprecatingly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sal knows that eventually, Dean may disappoint and desert him, but he loves him anyway and goes along for the adventure, which will eventually drive them mad. Dean is both a saint and a con-man at once. It's a kind of faith Sal is describing, making reason and rationality irrelevant. Both their friendship and he novel is based on the idea that Sal and Dean ?understood each other on other levels of madness?. In the opening of ?On the Road?, Jack Kerouac successfully gives the reader an insight into the frenetic lives of Sal, Dean and his stunningly beautiful girl, Marylou. With the novel following the form of their lives, the reader is fully immersed into their lives; especially their thoughts and feelings. Their journey across America starts here and they have no limitations as to where hey can go. ...read more.

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