The Beat Generation In Kerouac's On The Road

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In many aspects, the era from 1940 to 1960 were the United States' golden age, and the American dream pictured at this time is still very present in the way we see America today. It is also a time were young people, as embodied by James Dean in Rebel without a cause, are lost, a bit rebellious, and looking for a meaning to life. In literature, this mindset is at the core of the Beat Generation. As a response to the expanding consuming society of the time and its materialism, the authors of, lead by Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs or Jack Kerouac reject the traditional way of writing and their narative, and instead portray the raw reality of humanity, explore America and look for a spiritual answer to life. Kerouac's On the road, published in 1957, was written in the span of three weeks in april 1951. In true depiction of the Beat Generation's spontaneity, it was at first a long undivided scroll retelling the trip Kerouac took accross the United States of America. The novel first featured the characters' real names, that is to say Kerouac as the narrator, Neal Cassidy and other friend of Kerouac's, before changing to fake…show more content…
Moreover, when Sal thinks on his second long trip why he is doing this, he writes that « [he] had forgotten something » (p.112). This might be linked to his sense of responsability or he had forgotten what it wa slike to be worry-free and young. He then finds out that he cannot escape his existential crisis, his sadness and his feeling of being lost, no matter where he is in the world : « led to water, ambiguous, universal water, just as 42nd street, New York, leads to water, and you never know where you are »
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