Thursday, May 31, 2012
Jack Kerouac: On the Road
Before I read On the Road I already knew about its cultural significance. In its day, this short novel shocked society with its explicit sex and drug use. Reading it today it does not feel that offensive. However, realizing that most of this semi-autobiographical tale takes place around 1947-48 is quite amazing to me. This feels like 1968, not 1948, so I can see what it was influential for its time.
Traveling across the country in the late 1940's was very different than today and I enjoyed the visual depictions of the scenery as much as the story. I think we have all seen people who were possessed by angels and demons like Dean Moriarty; people who captivate us and pulled us into their world. Even at the end of the book, when Sal sees once again the true "Dean Moriarty" he still feels a longing to be around his crazy friend.