CLASSIC OF THE DAY: On the Road by Jack Kerouac
On the Road by Jack Kerouac is the next installment of the young American man’s adventure through adulthood. Much like The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, depicting a young boy’s struggle through adolescence, we follow a different author’s non-fictional journey across America in an effort to experience life to its fullest. A young Kerouac in his twenties travels east and west meeting old and new friends, experimenting with drugs, struggling through poverty at times for the sake of being alive.
It is apparent that this book is not a piece of beautifully written classic literature nor does it try to be. Kerouac’s sometimes rickety sentences and jumping storylines may make some English teachers cringe, but it creates a unique style that draws the reader into Kerouac’s sporadic mind. It is also extremely effective at building scenery the reader can become immersed in. Kerouac enters California stating, “I suddenly realized I was in California. Warm, palmy air- air you can kiss- and palms” (60). Using words that do not exist, as Kerouac often does, he gives the reader a beautiful view threw his eyes.
Enveloping the reader in a world seen through Kerouac’s perspective, the reader quickly grows attached to Sal, as Kerouac is referred to by his friends. The reader grows close to these characters as if they are friends of their own. Kerouac helps the reader build his or her own opinion of that person by breaking events to flash to a past action or a story about someone.
Some may call his writing scatter brained, but one cannot argue that no rock was left unturned. Every alleyway and opened is searched and closed as we journey throughout the book. Kerouac even recognizes his incredible ability to reconnect ideas writing, “Something would come of it yet. There’s always more, a little further- it never ends” (243). Often times, major events are protruded by a several page flashback only to be dropped back into action with a greater understanding than before. Not to mention, the landscape of 1940’s New York, California and America in general gives a younger generation a peek into a time of old.
On The Road is more than a delinquent’s expedition across America. It is the story that all young people create for themselves as they begin to carve out their own tale on life’s road.
[Guest Reviewer: James]
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