On the Road

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Jack Kerouac's 'Great American' Novel, On the Road "?because the only people for me as the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes, 'Awwwww!'" (On the Road, Jack Kerouac p. 8) The 40's. A time of the beat generation, a time when life in America was poetic. And Jack Kerouac was there to see it all and tell about it in splendorous detail. Truly Jack Kerouac was a mindful literary genius and his novel On The Road published in 1957 is a great American novel that all citizens should take the time to read.

On The Road begins with Sal Paradise, a beatnik traveler looking for something more in his life than the tedious life he lives, and his hero Dean Moriarty, a true representative of beat life in America and a mad man. Sal desires meaning for his pointless life so he begins a great American journey looking for everything and nothing, following in the footsteps of Dean and his friend Carlo Marx. Instead of making use of the money he has earned he takes to the road on foot and hitch hikes his way across America from New York to Denver, his ultimate goal.

Upon arriving at his destination and reuniting with Dean he realizes Dean's madness, his inability to control his emotions, his vagueness, his incoherence can only imply one thing, Dean's inner genius. Dean and Carlo flee again off towards Texas. Sal Paradise follows looking for 'America.'...