Jack Kerouac’s On the Road is perhaps one of the most-hated classic novels in the world of literature. According to multiple criticisms of the novel, it was iconic not because of its good writing or story. Rather because of its act of romanticizing and even pandering to the racially and culturally curious “whites” of America.
However, this is essentially the point of the novel given its iconic depiction of the Beat Generation. The young and restless American youth are exchanging the safe and boring American dream for something else. For a sense of adventure and cultural immersion.
How America was the “road” all along
The story is more about America than it cared to admit. It was about being a good American in the post-war reality. A landscape where young men can no longer join a war to prove their native patriotism or to prove their actual “maleness”.
The central themes of On the Road are both self and loss. In a sense, it was the feeling of searching for something. Something that was greater and transcendent than the self at the same time it was the attempt to search for something that was predominant to the truth.
The beat generation which is literally about a beaten-down generation- is one of the most important concepts and themes that can be reflected in the novel. It was an attempt to give alternatives to the common ideations of success and manhood. Like exchanging capitalist success for the freedom to be carefree.
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Precious' only desire for the future is to be more human. The world we live in has shackled us in the limitations of practicality that we are taught that to be human is to be weak. She wants to change that narrative and attempt to prove that the best way to progress and equality is by amplifying our humanity. Believe it or not- she absurdly believes that this could be done through writing. On a more formal and boring note she has a journalism degree with plans to pursue legal studies in the future.