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On the Road

On the Road


by Jack Kerouac

Analysis: Allusions

When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literature, Philosophy, and Mythology

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes (Dean’s last name, ‘Moriarty’).
Karl Marx (Carlo’s name)
Frederick Nietzsche (I.1.1, II.3.11)
Arthur Schopenhauer (I.1.7)
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (I.1.12, I.6.6)
George Ruxton: Life in the Far West (I.6.1)
Arthur Rimbaud (I.7.10)
Opera Fidelio (I.9.6, I.9.16)
Jack London (I.11.73)
Ecclesiastes (I.1.16)
Allen Ginsberg: Denver Doldrums (I.7.23, I.8.7, II.3.5)
Ernest Hemingway (I.7.1, I.9.10, I.104): Green Hills of Africa (I.10.12), The Sun Also Rises (I.11.101-I.11.104)
Fyodor Dostoevsky (I.11.51)
Alain-Fournier: Le Grand Meaulnes (I.14.1)
The Bible (II.6.17, IV.2.2): Solomon (II.6.17)
Shakespeare (II.6.38)
Maya Codices (II.6.34, II.6.35)
Kafka (II.6.54)
Eugene Sue: Mysteries of Paris (III.2.16, III.3.4)
Sir Thomas Aquinas, (III.8.16)
Herman Melville: Moby Dick (III.9.16)
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (II.6.10)
Marcel Proust (V.5)

Historical Figures

President Truman (I.11.63, I.11.65, I.11.70, II.6.4)
Mickey Cohen (III.9.12)
Stonewall Jackson (IV.2.1)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (IV.5.39)

Music and Movies

James Dean (Dean’s first name)
Gene Autry (I.1.4)
Jack Dempsey (I.4.50)
Beethoven (I.9.6)
Sullivan’s Travels (I.12.14)
Veronica Lake (I.12.14)
Joel McCrea (I.12.14)
George Murphy (I.13.3)
Lionel Hampton: "Central Avenue Breakdown" (I.13.5)
Of Mice and Men (the movie) (I.13.11)
Burgess Meredith (I.13.11)
Billie Holiday (III.4.4): "Lover man" (I.13.46)
Peggy Lee: "Mañana Is Soon Enough For Me" (I.13.49)
Irving Berlin: "Blue Skies" (I.13.50)
Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray: "The Hunt" (II.1.15, II.4.15).
Groucho Marx (II.3.11, II.4.15, II.7.15, III.4.14)
W.C. Fields (I.7.1, II.3.11, II.6.36, IV.4.6)
Giuseppe Verdi (II.4.15)
George Shearing (II.4.18, II.10.9)
Dizzie Gillespie (III.7.11, III.10.4)
Lester Young (musician) (III.10.3, III.10.4, IV.1.2)
Charlie Parker (I.3.2, III.10.3, III.10.4)
Miles Davis (I.3.2, III.10.3)
Louis Armstrong (III.10.4)
Roy Eldridge (III.10.4)
Count Basie (III.10.4)
Benny Moten (III.10.4)
Thenolius Monk (III.10.4)
Willie Jackson (IV.1.2)
Stan Getz (IV.I.18)
Gary Cooper (IV.2.16)
Wynonie Harris (IV.4.9)
Lionel Hampton (IV.4.9)
Lucky Millinder (IV.4.9)
Duke Ellington (V.13)


Amadeo Modigliani (I.1.4)
Rembrandt (I.9.6)


Don Ameche (I.13.3)
Marty Glick (IV.1.2)
Gil Hodges (IV.I.17)
Joe DiMaggio (IV.I.17)
Bobby Thomson (IV.I.17)

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