* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
On the Road

On the Road

by Jack Kerouac

Analysis: Setting

Where It All Goes Down

America and Mexico in the 1940s and 1950s, specifically New York, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Mexico City

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 – but we really only see him in four major American cities – New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco – each of which takes on a persona and describes a particular phase on Sal’s travels.

The temporal setting is a post World War II America, a time that Sal and his friends find full of intellectual falsity (read: the arty types "sucking up the blood of America") and in fact rather aimless. There is a need to go, to be, to do something, but this Beat Generation, defined by its time and circumstance (i.e., the setting), doesn’t know where or how to channel that energy.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement