By Harold Bloom, Jesse Zuba
Written in shiny element, Kerouac's autobiographical novel describes the epic trek of his alter-ego Sal Paradise from the East coast to San Francisco; it keeps this day because the benchmark paintings of Beat fiction. The name, Jack Kerouac’s at the highway, a part of Chelsea condo Publishers’ sleek serious Interpretations sequence, offers crucial 20th-century feedback on Jack Kerouac’s at the street via extracts of serious essays through famous literary critics. This choice of feedback additionally incorporates a brief biography on Jack Kerouac, a chronology of the author’s existence, and an introductory essay written by way of Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the arts, Yale collage.
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Extra info for Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations)
OR, 181) The one entry that Sal has into this world is Dean, and Sal is so lonely that he ﬂees west to him in San Francisco. At ﬁrst glance, this suggests the escapism of parts one and two, but the trip that follows is of a different sort altogether. For one thing, Sal and Dean now travel east instead of west. Not only do they travel in the direction associated in the book with family, society, and history, but their ultimate destination, though never reached, is Italy, the Old World. More importantly, Sal’s sense of his relationship to Dean is radically different.
When Sal spots Terry on the evening bus to LA, he is “so lonely, so sad, so quivering, so broken, so beat” that he manages to get up “the courage necessary to approach a strange girl” (OR, 81). What follows is a pastiche of Sal’s fantasies of Dean and of halfremembered movie images. Sal’s language becomes an imitation of Dean’s so that “it was mutely and beautifully and purely decided that when I got my hotel room in LA she would be beside me” (OR, 82). Sal makes their arrival in LA real to himself by equating it with a Hollywood fantasy.
In Part One, for instance, Dean is mostly on the periphery of Sal’s experience. Consequently, this is the innocent section of On The Road, the one most unqualiﬁedly romantic. Sal is making his ﬁrst road trip, alone, across the country, and his feelings are those of boyish delight. Though there are perceptions of lacrimae rerum (the “tears of things”), the perceptions do not achieve dramatic coherence. They do not achieve coherence even when Dean enters the center of Sal’s life in Part Two, since Sal’s attitude towards Dean is at this point too wide-eyed, too bedazzled by admiration.
Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (Bloom's Modern Critical Interpretations) by Harold Bloom, Jesse Zuba