Analysis of Kerouac’s On The Road

Jack Kerouac is one of the pioneering founders of the beatnik movement along with Allen Ginsberg. The beatnik movement is a befuddling one as it involved a combination of Eastern Mysticism, Drugs, and Free Sex. May be it emerged out of the depression of American involvement in Vietnam and the Cold War. I read Kerouac’s: On the Road but I was not very much impressed with its language. There are very few figures of speech and the description is plain-speak.
Kerouac’s meanderings of the mind and well as his hitchhiking across America are poignantly portrayed. It is said that the book is written in the language of Jazz with its syncopated rhythms but I don’t think so. Kerouac has a friend Dean with whom he engages in dialogue. Kerouac is confronted with extreme boredom and nausea. There is an outpour of existential guilt.
I am puzzled to the depths of the ocean by Kerouac’s ignorance about Philosophers. He keeps on blabbering about Nietzsche but does not talk anything about his philosophy like the ‘Death of God’, the Apollonian and Dionysian elements, the melody of Apollo and the rhythm and beat of Dionysus which contributes to the making of drama especially tragedy. I feel very disappointed with Kerouac’s lack of knowledge and I feel the whole Beatnik movement was one of adult petulance. The Beatniks were interested in Eastern mysticism especially the theory of Karma and Reincarnation. I would like to bring up a Christian perspective about Karma. For Christ Karma (Deeds) alone won’t make one attain salvation. Salvation comes only through being born again in Christ. The doctrine of reincarnation is absurd. How can one be born an ant in one’s after life? The Beatniks were weed aficionados.
The book rambles on from page to page about Kerouac’s travels which all are all senseless like Camus myth of the Sisyphus. Kerouac is notorious for womanizing. Women are dehumanized and treated as strumpets and door mats. Kerouac’s novel has no depth of character or psychological insight. There is no hint of irony. The prose is dull and cluttered. There is no catharsis. Reading the entire novel, I did not come across a single figure of speech. The journeys made by Kerouac are lackadaisical and sterile with monotony. Kerouac is self indulgent in drunkenness and doping. There is no tone in the novel and it is the outcome of a mediocre mind. Initially I was fascinated with Beatnik movement. But I am disappointed with its writing. After reading the novel: I felt a pall of gloom.

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