Thursday, October 13, 2011

First Chapters of On the Road

Not much is said about why the narrator wants to go out West and live "on the road". The fact that he leaves everything he has to go out to the West with just $50 in his pocket says a lot about his character; he is a daring, care free individual who has the will to survive and hunger for adventure. The narrator spent almost half of his money on a bus from Newburgh to Chicago, which was not the smartest decision, since he had just begun what would be a long trajectory. His actions led me to assume that he is the type of person that struggles to begin with something, but once he has begun, everything becomes easier. Also the fact that he asked for rides shows that he is a humble person who is not always caring about what people think of his social status.
-Ali M.

The Writing Style of Jack Kerouac

Kerouac's writing style was heavily influenced by the cultural changes of the time, especially the rise of Jazz music and the Bebop genre. Along with cultural influences, Kerouac used his own Buddhist studies to mold his writing style.
Jack refered to his writing style as "spontaneous prose" because he would write continuously without edits.  He enjoyed writing autobiographical novels, so his writing style fit perfectly with the stories he told because his experiences could flow out onto the pages of the novel without edits.
He showed that his writing style could produce a novel with rhythm, much like the music that influenced him.  By improvising words and trying to eliminate the period, he created a writing style all is own to go with the rythm of the Beat generation.

He wrote "On The Road" on a 120 foot manuscript using his writing technique of "spontaneous prose"
-Zack Meier

People that Kerouac Influenced

This literary work by Kerouac has been a huge influence on many poets, writers, actors and musicians, which include Bob DylanJim MorrisonHunter S. Thompson, and many more. Bob Dylan stated: "It changed my life like it changed everyone else's". He also influenced two great American photographers: Robert Frank and Stephen Shore. Kerouac wrote the introduction to The Americans, which is Frank's most notable work, which earned him comparisons to a modern-day "de Tocqueville". Kerouac influenced Shore, who set out on an American road trip in the 1970s with Kerouac's book as a guide. Hunter S. Thompson's road novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, would be hard to imagine had On the Road not laid down the template - just like films such as Easy RiderParis, Texas, and Thelma and Louise.
-Ali M.


The Beat Generation

The Beat Generation was a term that Jack Kerouac used in 1948 to describe his social circle. He was recognized as being the founder and leader of this movement.  The members of this generation were a group of American writers who emerged in the 1950s who rejected American middle class values. The headquarters were centred around the artist colonies in California and New York.

The following are characteristics of the movement:

  • Spiritual liberation, sexual "revolution" i.e., gay liberation
  • Liberation from censorship.
  • Decriminalization of some laws against marijuana and other drugs.
  • The evolution of rhythm and blues into rock and roll as a high art form
  • The spread of ecological consciousness
  • Opposition to the military-industrial machine civilization
  • Appreciation of actions against law enforcers.
  • Respect for land and indigenous peoples/creatures

Cati S. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

About Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was born into a Franco-American family in 1922 Lowell, Massachusetts. He attended Columbia University on a football scholarship. Kerouac was one of the most controversial and best-known writers of his time. He was the innovator of what became known as the "Beat generation". Kerouac is recognized for covering topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. He was also one of the founders of the Hippie movement. Kerouac was a great influence on literature, bringing impulsive literary works to light. After his death, Kerouac's literary prestige has grown and several previously unseen works have been published. All of his books are in print today, his most famous one being On The Road, first published in 1957.
-Ali M.

-Stunning images courtesy of Zack Meier