On the Road: Poetry in Prose

It was only last February that a friend recommended the book “On the Road” to me, and I owe her a serious thank you for that! This book is the story of Kerouac himself (Sal Paradise in the book) and his time on the road with long time friend and muse Neal Cassidy (Dean Moriarty in the book), when he was just a struggling writer.

Father of Beat Generation Writers

Jack Kerouac whom in my view could be dubbed as the father of Beat Generation writers, was no ordinary man. He was in love with life, and boredom was his foe, or as he constantly mentions in the book, people who interested him didn’t say commonplace things , they did not yawn ,they weren’t just doing what they were supposed to do.

Kerouac’s Dean Moriarty is ” mad to live”, he is a wanderlust child, whose soul can’t be satisfied with a stable life in one place. Jack Kerouac or book’s Sal Paradise is the same, that is why Dean’s presence is so dominant in the book. Kerouac sees all the life and its craziness in this guy. Sal Paradise gets so annoyed with boredom ,that stops a girl whom he goes on a date with from yawning.

Adventures from New York to Mexico City

He takes the reader from New York to Mexico , and his poetic prose makes you want to devour this book. His descriptions of people with whom he travels on the road or men or woman who pick him up as a hitchhiker is spot one it gives the reader  a clear image of America at that time. For instance, once a traveling salesman who believes in moderate starvation for the sake of good health, picks him up; which is pretty strong, I mean the way the man had convinced himself to do so, which probably got something do to with him not being able to afford so much food, makes you think and has a hidden message wrapped up in itself.

Few parts of the book is also dedicated to a Mexican blue eyed woman, with whom Paradise ends up living for a while. His description of her Cesarean scar,and his secret sympathy for the girl is another poetic, yet very strong statement, which accentuates the fact that Sal Paradise is a different man, he has a soul and he pays attention.

The book ends in New York City, with Remi Boncouer (Sal’s French friend)with whom Paradise leaves a ragged and broken Dean Moriarty -and his restless soul- behind.  I know Neal Cassidy (the book’s Dean) went on a trip to Mexico and was found dead on the railroads. This is important , since the books ends with Sal contemplating what might have become of Dean except for the obvious fact that he is going to grow old. So you could say Neal Cassidy’s death (he died a few years before Kerouac) was the sad and real ending of the book.

Book’s Real Ending

Kerouac had predicted his death in the book as well. As one of Dean’s “women” mentions :’Dean is going to die in one of his trips one day.” I think it shows how Kerouac was aware of the dangers of the escapist life they had chose, and how they’d just rather live like that than become someone who goes to work everyday and comes back home, makes small talk and worst of all who yawns.

I’d put a rare interview of Kerouac up  (it is a rare TV appearance of his on Steve Allen Show) I would recommend you watch it, I guess watching this video would make you more interested in him (in general) and also his book. I hope you would enjoy this book, as much as I did. Drop me a line and tell me what you’d think of it, whether if you had just started it , or had read it before. I like to hear your thoughts.


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