Steinbeck Vs Keouac, A View Of America

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade May 2001

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Steinbeck vs. Kerouac, a View of America On the Road and Travels with Charley depicts America in two different, but not necessarily opposing styles. Kerouac, through his experience, views America through the constant motion with which he saw it. He describes the country in a very regional way, detailing individual locations in an attempt to show their uniqueness and differences. Kerouac uses a style of constant action and changing behavior to depict his characters and subsequently America. This use of motion allows the country to be seen in a regional light; detail is focused on the differences and the changes, which become evident through travel. In Travels with Charley, Steinbeck uses and entirely different style, one of a steady description of America. He allows himself to detail his experience dismissing the differences from region to region and detailing the underlying general similarities. Steinbeck allows the regionality to blend, creating and describing a sense of one true America.

Steinbeck through this sense of overall similiarity describes a progression towards uniformity throughout the nation. This change in style allows each author to show America in a different light, forming opinions accordingly. Steinbeck sees Americans as Americans, not necessarily describing them according to region or ethnicity. Kerouac views America with a sense of change and regional separation, allowing each region to take on an individual behavior.

Steinbeck is able to present America with a sense of generalization. He travels and writes slowly, catching detail and describing the towns in a way where their overall similarity rises to the surface. He effectively links towns in New England with those in the South and those in the West. He describes an America absent of change, detailing the similarities in each of these towns. Steinbeck formulates this feeling of generality by examining different aspects of...