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Research paper example essay prompt: On The Road - 1755 words

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.. in Kerouacs spontaneous prose method as a variation on the stream of consciousness technique favored by the modernists (Jack Kerouac. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 61, 278). With this style, however; comes a lack of the basic components of literature. The plot directly suffered as a result of giving little thought to the writing as he went. Kerouac has written an enormously readable and entertaining book, but one reads it in the same mood that he might visit a slide show (Jack Kerouac.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 61, 278). The book is still fun to read with some natural plot derived from his prose. Champney states, There is built in conflict in Kerouac's writing as he celebrates pure sensation, timeless absorption in the living NOW, and direct mindless experience (286). He sees every situation while he writes and makes decisions based on how he feels which offers a naturalistic view.

It is in the remarkably flexible style as Kerouac improvises within each episode seeking to adjust his sound to the resonance of the given moment (Krim 304). Even with his ability to create a book with an interesting story, his plot is weak. Curley states: Lewis wrote that America of the atomic era was not a place but a time. That explains Kerouacs lack of plot. In Kerouacs vision, man does not control time, time controls man.

(280) This can help the reader understand why Kerouacs writing has a poor plot. Since he feels controlled by time he lives a in the present, do things now kind of life and so do his characters. Champney related, People who really live in the present dont write books, so Kerouac meets this dilemma by writing badly: meanings are ignored, syntax is garbled, and form sprawls (280). With these problems it still stands as one of the great novels of all time. This is a testament of his ability to capture something so vividly that people cant help but be fascinated with it.

Some say it is the downward spiral of literature in general that leaves this book seeming to be greater than it is. Dempsey states It is not so much a novel as a long affectionate lark inspired by the so called beat generation, and an example of the degree to which some of the most original work being done in this country has come to depend on the bizarre and the off beat for its creative stimulus (279-280). Many feel On the Road is about the state of America as a whole at the time. Kerouac wanted to show the pull the open road had on the mind of people and the negative response people who followed that pull received. Neil states, It all seemed to be a Whitmanesque celebration of the open road, that peculiarly American joy in moving for its own sake (306). In America we have the unique attraction with hopping on the open road for no reason other than to go.

On the Road is a metaphor exposing the pointlessness of American enchantment with a kind of progress that involves constant, compulsive movement, occasionally spiced with wistful notions of relaxing and enjoying life (Neil 307). With this love captured in Kerouacs novel, he shows the feeling of exile displayed by the people who follow. On the Road ends with an elegy for a lost America, for the country which once may have been the father of us all, but now is only the land where they let the children cry (Vopat 306). It is a sad feeling for those who dont see themselves as a problem, but are disowned by society. Along with the plot, the character development in On the Road is heavily criticized.

They are not well thought out and easily disregarded. Dempsey states: Unlike Wolfe, Nelson Algren, or Saul Bellow (there are trace elements of all three writers here), Mr. Kerouac throws his characters away, as it were. His people are not developed, but simply presented; they perform, take their bows, and do a hand spring into the wings. (280) Many critics feel this lack of ability to give characters depth most clearly shows Kerouacs poor writing ability. If he is unable to make a simple character, how can he be considered one of our greatest writers? The non sequitors of the beat generation become the authors own plotless, theme less technique- having absolved his characters of all responsibility, he can absolve himself of the writers customary attention to motivation and credibility (Dempsey 280). It is Kerouacs spontaneous prose that most likely led to him ignoring the need for well mad characters, but that is no excuse. On the Road moves with the same frenetic energy as its characters, chronicling numerous road trips and drunken episodes without extensive characterization or plot (Jack Kerouac. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol.

61, 277). Kerouac tried to defend his character development by bringing up the problems in America. Kerouac points out the shortcomings of his characters parallel the shortcomings of the country to which they are so intimately connected (Vopat 305). This explanation is not widely accepted and his lack of development remains a key point of his critics. Kerouacs weak character development is counteracted by his amazing descriptions. He is able to capture a seen in a way that captivates the reader. Champney states, Kerouacs writing is intended to be larger than simply rational and didactic, and it often succeeds in what Dempsey called a descriptive excitement unmatched since the days of Thomas Wolfe (286).

Millstein agrees saying, There are sections of On the Road in which the writing is almost breathtaking (279). These descriptions are the strongest part of his writing. They are powerful enough to out weigh all the negativity from his other areas. Millstein offers examples from the book to show this: There is some writing on Jazz that has never been equaled in American fiction, either for insight, style, or technical virtuosity. There are details of a trip to Mexico (and an interlude in a Mexican bordello) that are, by turns, awesome, tender, and funny.

There is a description of a cross-country automobile ride fully the equal, for example, of the train ride told by Thomas Wolfe in Of Time and the River. (279) Without these descriptions On the Road would never have become as popular as it is. They are a major part of the novel and give it the necessary edge to put it in the category of our top books. Another major plus in Kerouacs writing is its sense of rhythm. It moves along with an almost musical beat that is unique to his writing. Ginsberg says, Kerouac was the first writer I ever met who heard his own writing, who listened to his own sentences as if they were musical, rhythmical constructions, and who could follow the sequence of the sentences that make up the paragraph as if he were listening to a jazz riff (306). Kerouacs love for jazz music gave him a background for flowing rhythmically in his writing.

So it was a definite rhythmical squiggle that he was hearing when he was writing prose sentences, a funny body rhythm, a breathing rhythm, and a speech rhythm that he was conscious of when he was writing prose (306). This rhythm made the book much more enjoyable to read, and gave his writing a superiority to others. Jack Kerouacs On the Road followed the lives of the beat generation and in doing so defined them as a people. His writing is criticized for its poor plot and weak character development, However; its descriptions are incredible. His spontaneous prose method and rhythmical writing gave it a uniqueness that helped make this one of our great novels.

It is an educational and enjoyable book to read. Works Cited Baro, Gene. Living It Up with Jack Kerouac. Chicago Tribune 6 Oct. 1957: 4. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 281.

Bowering, George. On the Road: And the Indians at the End. Stoney Brook 1969: . 191-201. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 299-303.

Champney, Freeman. Beat-up or Beatific? The Antioch Review Spring 1959: 114- 121. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 285-286. Curley, Thomas F. Everything Moves, but Nothing is Alive. The Commonwealth NA.

Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 281. Dempsey, David. In Pursuit of Kicks. The New York Times Book Review 8 sept.

1957: 4. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 279-280. Feied, Frederick. Chapter Three.

No Pie in the Sky: The Hobo as the American Cultural Hero in the Works of Jack London, John Dos Passos, and Jack Kerouac The Cidadel Press, 1964: 57-80. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 292-296. Ginsberg, Allen. Kerouac. Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness 1974: 151-160. Found in CLC, Vol.

14, 306. Gussow, Adam. Bohemia Revisited: Malcom Cowley, Jack Kerouac, and On the Road. The Georgia Review Summer 1984: 291-311. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 310-314.

Jack Kerouac. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 61. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990. Jack Kerouac. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol.

14. Detroit: Gale Research, 1980. Krim, Seymour. King of the Beats. Commonwealth 2 Jan. 1959: 359-360.

Found in CLC, Vol. 14, 304-305. Millstein, Gilbert. The New York Times. 5 Sept.

1957: 27. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 278-279. Neil, Meredith J. The beginnings of our Times.

South Atlantic Quarterly Autum 1974: 428-444. Found in CLC, Vol. 14, 307. Vopat, Carole Gottlieb. Jack Kerouacs On the Road: A Re-evaluation.

Midwest Quarterly Summer 1973: 385-407. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 303-306. Bibliography Works Cited Baro, Gene. Living It Up with Jack Kerouac. Chicago Tribune 6 Oct.

1957: 4. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 281. Bowering, George. On the Road: And the Indians at the End. Stoney Brook 1969: .

191-201. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 299-303. Champney, Freeman. Beat-up or Beatific? The Antioch Review Spring 1959: 114- 121. Found in CLC, Vol.

61, 285-286. Curley, Thomas F. Everything Moves, but Nothing is Alive. The Commonwealth NA. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 281. Dempsey, David.

In Pursuit of Kicks. The New York Times Book Review 8 sept. 1957: 4. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 279-280.

Feied, Frederick. Chapter Three. No Pie in the Sky: The Hobo as the American Cultural Hero in the Works of Jack London, John Dos Passos, and Jack Kerouac The Cidadel Press, 1964: 57-80. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 292-296. Ginsberg, Allen. Kerouac.

Allen Verbatim: Lectures on Poetry, Politics, Consciousness 1974: 151-160. Found in CLC, Vol. 14, 306. Gussow, Adam. Bohemia Revisited: Malcom Cowley, Jack Kerouac, and On the Road. The Georgia Review Summer 1984: 291-311. Found in CLC, Vol.

61, 310-314. Jack Kerouac. Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 61. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990. Jack Kerouac.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale Research, 1980. Krim, Seymour. King of the Beats. Commonwealth 2 Jan.

1959: 359-360. Found in CLC, Vol. 14, 304-305. Millstein, Gilbert. The New York Times.

5 Sept. 1957: 27. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 278-279. Neil, Meredith J.

The beginnings of our Times. South Atlantic Quarterly Autum 1974: 428-444. Found in CLC, Vol. 14, 307. Vopat, Carole Gottlieb.

Jack Kerouacs On the Road: A Re-evaluation. Midwest Quarterly Summer 1973: 385-407. Found in CLC, Vol. 61, 303-306. English Essays.

Related: on the road, beat generation, stream of consciousness, literary criticism, breathing

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