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Analysis

Literary Devices in On the Road

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Dean and Sal drive a Cadillac across country to Chicago. Or rather, they start with a Cadillac, and they end up with a big hunk of destroyed metal. What destroys this car, you ask? Primarily, it...

Setting

To discuss the "setting" of On the Road is interesting and informative about just what’s going on in this text. Sal is restlessness, right? He keeps needing to move, to go somewhere else R...

Narrator Point of View

We see the story through the eyes of Sal Paradise, the character who is supposed to mirror Jack Kerouac himself. What’s interesting is the other main character, Dean Moriarty. Sal is, to a de...

Genre

On the Road can’t really be categorized as tragedy or comedy or any of your normal genre subdivisions. "Frantic-poetry-like-tale," perhaps, but we couldn’t find that section in Barnes a...

Tone

It’s pretty amazing how a book that’s so much fun to read ends up making you want to sit in a beach and stare into the water and contemplate the subtleties of your life. Which is what i...

Writing Style

And we're not just calling it that because a lot of On the Road takes place in cars. More than most, Jack Kerouac was famous for crystalizing the Beat style of writing with his work. What's the Bea...

What’s Up With the Title?

Main character Sal Paradise spends about, oh, let’s see…99.9% of his time traveling on the road. And the other 0.1% of the time he’s wishing he could be on the road. On the surfac...

Plot Analysis

On the Road is famous for not following a standard plot. In fact, it’s famous for doing a horrible job at being a novel, in the plot sense of what a novel should be. This may have something t...

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Analysis: Voyage and Return

This novel doesn't quite fit the Booker framework because it's more like Voyage and Return, and voyage. And return. And then voyage, return, followed by some voyage, and remarkably, a return.

Three Act Plot Analysis

The Sal and Dean saga begins, with idolatry in Denver, followed by some time with Remi Boncoeur in San Francisco, and some Terry goings-on thrown in for good measure.The second cross country trip,...

Trivia

Jack Kerouac modeled Sal Paradise after himself. It kind of makes sense now that you think about that whole first-person narrator business.Dean Moriarty is modeled after Neal Cassady. Well who was...

Steaminess Rating

Oh, let’s see: there was sex with Marylou, Camille, Inez, Terry, hanky-panky with the girl on the bus, that other girl on the bus, the one from the bus station, Beverly the waitress, the girl...

Allusions

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...
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