Read an excerpt of Jack Kerouac's On the Road (Read full directions) - Book Report/Review Example

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Name Professor English and Literature (Book Report) Date Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” The general outlook of the story carries within its pages some deep, abiding truth about the youth, significance of freedom and self –determination; creating the belief that for one to find themselves, they have to throw caution to the wind and go for long distance adventures, with no particular purpose and just a few bucks in the pocket…
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English and Literature (Book Report) Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” The general outlook of the story carries within its pages somedeep, abiding truth about the youth, significance of freedom and self –determination; creating the belief that for one to find themselves, they have to throw caution to the wind and go for long distance adventures, with no particular purpose and just a few bucks in the pocket. Even though the story is familiar to most as zeitgeist book, it is actually more than that; in comparison to the ways of the youth today is more of a historical artifact that could change the lives of most of these youths (O’Hagan 1). The broad purpose of this paper is to discuss three significant themes from Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’; the few themes elaborated have been clearly depicted in the most parts of the story. The article contains the key themes; friendship, gender conflicts on desire and rejection by authority; the themes are discussed widely using illustrations from the story. Friendship The friendship between Sal and Dean is highly reflected in the story as they are two men sharing travel experiences; moreover, their relationship is more part of male bonding stereotype yet they are just friends who later on become brothers. Dean seems to cheer up Sal, which works since Sal claims to be swayed by how Dean conducts himself, he claims “Besides, all my New York friends were in the negative, nightmare position of putting down society and giving their tired bookish or political or psychoanalytical reasons, but Dean just raced in society, eager for bread and love” (Kerouac 16). Additionally, Sal is under the impression that staying around Dean would change his life at some point; “Somewhere along the line I knew there'd be girls, visions, everything; somewhere along the line the pearl would be handed to me” (Kerouac 17). Concurrently, this is supported by a part in the story where Sal says that it is only when his friends are around that he truly experiences the correct kind of life; making him sad when they are not around. On the contrary, friendship is also deemed as a destructive power with Sal claiming to see his relationship with Dean as disparaging; he lectures Dean for taking him to Mexico, which symbolizes the destruction of traditional values of the society like relationship and family (Kerouac 43). Genders Conflict on Desires The relationships between men and women in the story are very conflicting starting with the author who criticizes the social structures of family and work that kept men from finding a true way of life i.e. “Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk or straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.” (Goodreads 1) However, Kerouac does not record the plight of women being subjected to the same strains and convections of the society; additionally, for Sal and Dean the women are compared to a force pushing against their hope for freedom with many of them being occasionally abandoned in the excerpt i.e. Dean’s wives who are also left with the children. In the main, women are seen as disposable objects of the men’s desires with only a few instances where some women tell Dean and Sal how irresponsible they are, making them interested in resolving the conflicts through assisting the women get what they want (Puder 1). Rejection of Authority Dean and Sal desire a life that overlooks authority, ignoring the rules and law; this is clearly expressed in the tales told during the journey that involve a number of times that Dean has been in jail due to breaking the law (Kerouac 18). Some of the major situations where the theme of rejection of authority is clearly displayed include, when Dean and Sal are stopped and harassed by Washington Police due to speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road, and when Dean is arrested under the accusation of pimping her prostitute wife (Kerouac 16). It is only in Mexico that Dean and Sal find freedom from authority since the police there encourage in their exploits and guard their whorehouse as they pay for sex; however, this would not have been the case in America, which is why Sal condemns the American Society (Kerouac 42). In conclusion, these three themes are seen in more than one case especially when Sal and Dean are on their travelling adventure; the most clearly represented of the three is the friendship between the two who despite their differences are able to tolerate each other. Rejection by authority is duly expected especially when it comes to Dean, a well-known conman that develops a don’t-care attitude especially through his careless driving; this is clearly put out by Sal who says, “I was beginning to get the bug like Dean. He was simply a youth tremendously excited with life, and though he was a con-man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live and to get involved with people who would otherwise pay no attention to him." (Kerouac 21). Furthermore, gender conflict on the desires is mostly seen to affect the female gender that only appears in the story when fulfilling men’s desires. Works Cited Kerouac, Jack. On the Road; ‘The Best Minds of a Generation’. New York; Penguin Books USA. 1992. Print. GoodReads, On the Road Quotes; Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. 2013. Web, October 7, 2013, <> O’Hagan, Sean. The First King of the Road: On the Road Review, August 5, 2007. Web, October 7, 2013, < > Puder, Chris. Reflecting on Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’; Embarked, May 13, 2010. Web, October 7, 2013, < >Read More
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