When first set this assignment I was mildly exited. Although I usually choose quiet good books to read, I thought it might give me a different literacy experience. Having had faith that all the books on the list are reasonably good I didn’t spend much time choosing. I picked one my cousin had and launched into it with enthusiasm. It was called ‘On the Road’ and was written by Jack Kerouac.
Basically the book is about a young fairly innocent young aspiring writer who gets captured I the ideology of the American dream. Like many people after the great depression Sal Paradise gets caught in to urge to break out and experience adventure. He felt that his life was not sufficient to the visions and expectations he had. So he left his home where he lived with his auntie and with fifty bucks decided to go to the west coast, hitchhiking most of the way. His first stop was his mates house Remi Boncour, who similarly to him also waiting foe his big break.
During his hitchhike he meets ‘a middle aged woman’ and a ‘tough truck driver with popping eyes’, ‘two boys from the university of Iowa’. The fundamental thing bout these characters is that they all seem to know where they are going not jut literarily to their destination but also metaphorically in their lives, all these people have cars and are picking Sal Paradise up, pulling him to his destiny. One of the characters he encounters on his way to the west who is in the same position as him is Eddie who is also looking for a new life and heading to meet a ‘girl and a new girl’. Eventually he gets a ride two brothers who are picking up everyone they see on the road. He spends a few nights drinking talking to the unhopeful crew. All these characters have a hope of a better life and what Jack Kerouac, the writer, does is put them all together because collectively they keep each other’s dreams alive.
Following this he meets a Mexican girl who surprise, suprise is also running away from something (an abusive husband). This particular portion of the book I think should be and perhaps Kerouac intended it to e significant. However, his style of writing which is very chronological and minimally descriptive takes away the importance of Sal’s and Terry’s meeting. He spend a good few months with her and her young son, we are told of the hardship he goes through to support them but the writer failed to touch me whit it.
I feel this is because once they part they arrange for her to follow him to New York. However despite this the writer adds ‘But we both knew she wouldn’t make it’. This line takes away the wonder and hope from their time together and I think it wipes out any feeling the characters had for each other that the writer was trying to implant earlier in the reader. Maybe its because I am a romantic, but I didn’t believe they loved each other enough if it was so easy for the author to wipe it away.
Sal Paradise is an example of the youth at that time. Jack Keurack wants us to see through Sal the feeling and expectations of the youth. To fulfil the lack of fulfilment the youth searched for their personal freedom in sex drugs and jazz.
This book was described by some as ‘makes the reader want to go out there seize the day and live, live, live’. Personally it makes me want to slam it shut. When I mentioned that I had faith in the list, well I was very wrong. Apart from making me go to sleep this book did absolutely nothing for my imagination. Kerouac’s writing annoys me tremendously there is nothing worse that telling a story completely chronologically. When I read the book it felt like I was reading boolet-points. I think this might be because the writer must have had similar experiences and so the excitement for him was drained and no matter hoe hard one tries to regain the enthusiasm it is impossible because once experienced the magic is taken away.
I understand the concept of the story and what the author is trying to achieve but it feels like his missed out on writing what potentially could be a great book. Compared to classics that I read this book is not predictable, usually this should be the exiting and fun but in this case it just seems to annoy me and I know exactly why? Simply, deep down, like the lone characters in the book, I to am an idealist.
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