On The Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road

On The Road is a defining work of the postwar Beat and Counterculture generations. The novel is based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across the United States.

The story follows Sal Paradise’s account of his travels across America with his friend Dean Moriarty, who is based on fellow Beat adventurer Neal Cassady. The book explores ideas of freedom, complex interpersonal relationships, and a search for meaning in a changing world.

The nature of friendship is an integral theme of the novel, as Sal has a diverse collection of friends. Some are artistic types, such as poets and jazz musicians, while others are more reckless and carefree.

The novel also deals with the conflicts between male and female desires, as the characters seem unsympathetic to the toll that the women have to pay in meeting the appetites and helping with the travels of the men.

What I Liked

It’s fast-paced and classic American literature. The attitude and vibes of the Beat Generation are fascinating and overlooked IMO. However, it does make me think about what “progressive” views do we have now that are actually quite retrograde.

What I Did Not Like

It’s very rambling and self-serious.

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