ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac (hier online bestellen)
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Jack Kerouac, creator of the "beat generation" best sums up his philosophy as "everything belongs to me
because i am poor". The failure of ideology and of the American Dream in the 1960s gave young dreamers who
were eager to live just one way out: the road.
Kerouac presents Sal Paradise, a young and innocent writer, and Dean Moriarty, a crazy youth
"tremendously excited with life" racing around America, and testing the limits of the American Dream.
Their journeys consist of scenes of rural wilderness, sleepy small towns, urban jungles, endless
deserts-all linked by the road, the outlet of a generation's desire and inner need to get out, break
its confinement, and find freedom, liberated from any higher belief, notion, or ideology. The desperation
and the lack of fulfillment made these youths feel that "the only thing to do was go", searching for their
personal freedom, and finding pleasure in sex, drugs, and jazz.
It seems that the "beat generation" had one and only ideology, and that was life. As Sal Paradise says,
"life is holy and every moment is precious", which explains why Dean" seemed to be doing everything at
the same time". The fear of death subconsciously followed the gang around America, as expressed by their
visions of a spirit following them across the desert of life.
Even though the gang feared that "death will overtake us before Heaven" they did all in their power to
experience as much of Heaven as they could while still alive. They were wise enough to see that there
was no point in conforming with the materialism of the American Dream: "the mad dream-grabbing, taking,
giving, sighing, dying just so they could be buried in those awful cemetery cities beyond Long Island City".
It is for this reason that Kerouac presents the "beat generation" as a "holy" generation: because it was
liberated from the peril of ambition, materialism and ideology, and was in a constant search for some
greater truth that life would teach them. Ed Dunkel, the tall, silent, lost boy is described as
"an angel of a man". Dean Moriarty, the personification of the road was a "holy con-man" with a
"holy lightning" gaze. By the end of the novel, Dean achieves so high a level of saintliness that
"he couldn't talk any more".
Excerpt from book:
"Great Chicago glowed red before our eyes. We were suddenly on Madison Street among hordes of hobos, some of
them sprawled out on the street with their feet on the curb, hundreds of others milling in the doorways of
saloons and alleys...
...We let out the hobos on this street and proceeded to downtown Chicago. Screeching trolleys, newsboys, gals
cutting by, the smell of fried food and beer in the air, neons winking--'We're in the big town, Sal! Whooee!'
First thing to do was park the Cadillac in a good dark spot and wash up and dress for the night. Across the street
from the YMCA we found a redbrick alley between buildings, where we stashed the Cadillac with her snout pointed
to the street and ready to go, then followed the college boys up to the Y, where they got a room and allowed us
to use their facilities for an hour. Dean and I shaved and showered. I dropped my wallet in the hall. Dean
found it and was about to sneak it in his shirt when he realized it was ours and was right disappointed...
...But we forgot that and headed straight for North Clark Street, after a spin in the Loop, to see the
hootchy-kootchy joints and hear the bop. And what a night it was.
'Oh, man,' said Dean to me as we stood in front of a bar, 'dig the street of life, the Chinamen that cut by
in Chicago. What a weird town--wow, and that woman in that window up there, just looking down with her big
breasts hanging from her nightgown, big wide eyes. Whee. Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get
About the author:
Jack Kerouac, born in Lowell, Mass., on Mar. 12, 1922, and died Oct. 21, 1969,
became the outstanding chronicler of the beat generation, a term that he coined to label a social and literary
movement in the 1950s. After studying briefly at Columbia University, he achieved fame with his spontaneous
and unconventional prose, particularly the novel On the Road (1957). After the success of this work Kerouac
produced a series of thematically and structurally similar novels, including The Dharma Bums and The
Subterraneans (both 1958), Doctor Sax (1959), Lonesome Traveler (1960), and Big Sur (1962). His loosely
structured, autobiographical works reflect a peripatetic life, with warm but stormy relationships and a
deep social disillusionment assuaged by drugs, alcohol, mysticism, and biting humor.
ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
Taschenbuch - 307 Seiten - Penguin Books
Erscheinungsdatum: 1. Januar 1991
Preis: € 13,50
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