Counterculture In Jack Kerouac's On The Road

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There have been several biographies of Jack Kerouac, examining and representing his life story, though his own autobiographical novel, On the Road is undeniably the most accurate biography of his actions, mentality. The author gave a response to the American values of the 1950s. Throughout his experiences, he represented the most characteristic features of this counterculture. Kerouac became an American icon, and the main character of his narration, Dean, an idol for the US youth of the post-war era. An example would be their rejection of economic materialism and the mainstream culture in post-war America. At that time, in The New York Times, the critic Gilbert Millstein saluted this book as “the most beautifully executed, the clearest and…show more content…
Jack Kerouac represented the most characteristic features of the American counterculture through his own experiences ‘on the road’ in the 1950s. Perhaps it was a nonviolent protest against the conventional government. The title of the novel On the Road justifies that this book was typed about trekking, wandering, so always being on the road. This chapter illustrates these characteristics, including the spiritual quest, to find a way how to live, not why to…show more content…
On the Road tells the story of two friends whose trips are a quest for the meaning of the life and true experience. They are traveling across America with hitchhiking. The reason why the narrator became sensitive to male friendships is that he lost his brother, Gerard. He admitted in the novel that Dean reminded him of Gerard: “Yes, and it wasn‘t only because I was a writer and needed new experiences that I wanted to know Dean more, (...) but because, somehow, in spite of our difference in character, he reminded me of some long-lost brotherˮ (ibid.: 9-10). Ellis Amburn explained this primeval bond to his brother in the same way: “…Gerard would haunt the life and the work of Jack Kerouac, sending him a passionate search for male companions to replace his brother – a search that culminated with Neal Cassady and On the Road” (Amburn). Indeed, this unique friendship with Neal Cassady was an alternative to disappointing family relationships. He wanted to compensate Gerard’s death with Cassady’s relationship. Also, these strong male relationships characterized the whole book: “This is, after all, a book in which the men are always leaving the women for other men – Sal leaving an unnamed woman for Dean, Dean leaving several wives for Sal, Ed leaving Galatea Dunkel for Dean...” (Barbarese 592) This masculinity took root in his childhood, as well. “A man’s man, a heavy smoker, a reckless gambler, and
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