On the Road
by Jack Kerouac
On the Road Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- We counted at least five different times where Remi says, "you can’t teach the old maestro a new tune." Does On the Road make an argument for or against this statement?
- You may have noticed that the book is in five parts. How do you think Kerouac's editors choose to divide the story (i.e., what are the starts and ends in each section), and how do these divisions create narrative flow?
- There’s a great moment in the book when a guy Sal thinks is a cop asks Sal and Eddie, "You boys going to get somewhere, or just going?" Which do you think Sal is doing?
- As the narrator, Sal reflects on the experiences he's telling about, saying things like, "Well, given what I know now," or "Yeah…that never ended up happening." How does this retrospective view effect the telling of the story? Do we view things differently, given Sal’s insights into his past?
- Sal sings a song in which he says, "Home I’ll never be." Is this true for Sal?
- What exactly is the nature of Sal and Dean's relationship? Is it idolatry, brotherhood, or does it include fear, awe, love or respect? And how does it change over the course of the book?
- On the Road is famous for its explicit treatment of drugs, sex, and alcohol. But what’s the point? What do we see in the Beat Generation because of this explicit material?
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