The cyclical nature of life is unavoidable, the rhythm is irresistible and the movement is inherent. Sal’s journey detailed in “On The Road” is one that reinforces these ideas, the true nature of man lies outside of societal convention. The journey of life is one where you will always be on the road, forging new friendships, experiencing what’s new, dealing with loss and, most importantly, going with the “flow”. Life in motion outside of society is the cure for the suffering of consciousness; it is the essential therapy of life.
In order to understand this point of view, one must first understand where and what type of society these views come from. The author of this book, Jack Kerouac, is known to be a leader and even considered the founder of the “Beat Generation”. This self-titled generation emerged as a group in the 1950s and proceeded to reject the American middle class values. Essentially, they were America’s first version of a group that would be known as “hippies” in later decades. The movement was characterized by its spiritual and sexual liberation, rejection of censorship, drug use, musical appreciation, and its opposition to the laws of society and civilization. These pillars of Beat movement and the entire Beat generation are fundamental in gaining an understanding of “On The Road”. In order to emphasize these values, Kerouac wrote this novel in a unique way. Rather than writing and rewriting a novel with the ability to edit, Kerouac wrote the novel as a continuous piece on a 120-foot manuscript. The writing, pace and tone of the novel reflect the “flow” with which Kerouac was writing. This writing technique allowed him to build characters that followed his own rhythm, and the events of the novel match the spirit of the author’s mood. Fatigue, depression, hope and happiness, a full range of emotions that are necessary in a novel of the Beat generation. This writing for Kerouac can relate to the constant movement and dissatisfaction of Sal throughout the story. Kerouac let what he desired to write take him with no censorship, much like how Sal travelled the country with no longing to turn back. It was always about the next destination; much how Kerouac was always longing for that next perfect word with which to craft his novel. The story and the author share a genuine connection in their appreciation for rhythm and motion, and these things are the outlets for their desires and the ideas that lift life’s pressures from their consciousness.