© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
Teaching Guide

Teaching On the Road

We've got the Beat(s).

GO TO STUDENT LEARNING GUIDE

On the Road again…we can't wait to get back On the Road again—whether it's with Kerouac or Willie Nelson.

Beat philosophy is freeform and free-spirited and, well, free, but you'll need to provide some structure for students. That's where Shmoop comes in.

In this guide you will find

  • lessons analyzing Beat philosophy.
  • an activity (road) mapping Kerouac's journey.
  • literary resources on other key Beatniks, like Allen Ginsberg.

It's not a road trip without singing, so bring the mic.

What's Inside Shmoop's Literature Teaching Guides

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our teaching guides will help you supplement in-classroom learning with fun, engaging, and relatable learning materials that bring literature to life.

Inside each guide you'll find quizzes, activity ideas, discussion questions, and more—all written by experts and designed to save you time. Here are the deets on what you get with your teaching guide:

  • 13-18 Common Core-aligned activities to complete in class with your students, including detailed instructions for you and your students. 
  • Discussion and essay questions for all levels of students.
  • Reading quizzes for every chapter, act, or part of the text.
  • Resources to help make the book feel more relevant to your 21st-century students.
  • A note from Shmoop's teachers to you, telling you what to expect from teaching the text and how you can overcome the hurdles.

With your purchase, you'll get unlimited access for 12 months. And if you like what you see, you can subscribe to all 200+ Teaching Guides for just $19.84/month.

Instructions for You

Objective: What's the point of reading On the Road in an isolation booth? Kerouac's novel is the inspiration for a stick-it-to-the-man, the-suburbs-are-for-suckers, Wall-Street-can-kiss-it way of life. It would be a shame to stop there. Kerouac creates fictionalized versions of his buds throughout his novel, and in this lesson students will take a look at the real deal. It's like meeting the subject of a "based on a true story" movie. While you're at it, we at Shmoop figure this is the perfect time to have the students compare different genres. Oh text-to-text analysis, how do we love thee?

Allen Ginsberg was Kerouac's homey in real-life, and Carlo Marx serves as his avatar in On the Road. Here's a chance to give a shout-out to the poetry of Ginsberg while comparing the work of both writers.

You can expect to spend between two and four hours of class time on this assignment.

Materials Needed:

  • Computer with Internet for research
  • Word processing software
  • Copies of "Howl"
  • A projection unit (to show the poem)
  • Copies of On the Road

Step 1: For homework, have students read "Howl" and review the Shmoop Guide for Ginsberg's poem.

Step 2: With all those long, breathless lines and obscure references, "Howl" isn't exactly an easy-peasy text. It is, however, a perfect text for students to practice annotating. Project the poem in the front of the room to model annotations, and have students annotate their copies as they follow along. Use the following steps/questions, along with the Shmoop guide, to drive the discussion:

  • Read the poem ALL the way through without stopping.
  • Jot down what is literally happening in each line/section.
  • What images do you see?
  • Who is the speaker?
  • What experiences from your life does this connect to?
  • What was the author thinking about when writing this poem?
  • What is the thesis or central theme of this poem?
  • Also look at Shmoop's "Howl" Questions.

Step 3: Once your students are howling with excitement over "Howl," assign the following Short-Constructed Response questions:

  • Write a well-developed paragraph in which you use ideas from both On the Road and "Howl" to establish a thesis about rules and order. Develop your thesis using specific examples and details from each text.
  • Using evidence from both texts, explain if Kerouac's description of Marx seems like an accurate or inaccurate depiction of the REAL Allen Ginsberg. Choose a specific literary element (theme, characterization, structure, point of view, etc.) or literary technique (symbolism, irony, figurative language, etc.) used by the authors to develop your answer. Your response should be a well-developed paragraph.

Step 4: Time to get your discussion on. Have students share their responses to the SCR questions and use this opportunity to wrap things up with one final chat:

  • What do "Howl" and On the Road have in common in terms of structure, voice, and theme?
  • Do you see any evidence of these writers influencing each other stylistically?
  • What insight do these texts lend to one another? For example, how might the character Marx give insight into the real Ginsberg's poem?

Instructions for Your Students

What's the point of reading On the Road in an isolation booth? Kerouac's novel is the inspiration for a stick-it-to-the-man, the-suburbs-are-for-suckers, Wall-Street-can-kiss-it way of life. It would be a shame to stop there. Kerouac creates fictionalized versions of his buds throughout his novel, but now you get a chance to take a look at the real deal. It's like meeting the subject of a "based on a true story" movie. While you're at it, we at Shmoop figure that this is the perfect time to compare different genres. Oh text-to-text analysis, how do we love thee?

Allen Ginsberg was Kerouac's homey in real-life, and Carlo Marx serves as his avatar in On the Road. Ginsberg wrote poems, poems you're about to read. Stop hyperventilating; reading poetry is as fun as downhill ice skating (don't try this at home… the ice skating, not the poetry—you should definitely read poetry at home).

Step 1: Did someone say "poetry" and "home?" For homework, read Ginsburg's most famous poem, "Howl," and review the Shmoop Guide here.

Step 2: With all those long, breathless lines and obscure references, "Howl" isn't exactly an easy-peasy text. It is, however, a perfect text to practice annotating (contain your excitement). As we discuss the poem, annotate your copies as you follow along—in other words, you'll be making note of your questions, reactions, and thoughts about each section. If you get stuck, try the following these steps/questions:

  • Read the poem ALL the way through without stopping.
  • Jot down what is literally happening in each line/section.
  • What images do you see?
  • Who is the speaker?
  • What experiences from your life does this connect to?
  • What was the author thinking about when writing this poem?
  • What is the thesis or central theme of this poem?
  • Also look at Shmoop's "Howl" Questions.

Step 3: Are you howling with excitement over "Howl?" We thought so. Now for a dash of comparative analysis, you'll answer the following Short-Constructed Response questions:

  • Write a well-developed paragraph in which you use ideas from both On the Road and "Howl" to establish a thesis about rules and order. Develop your thesis using specific examples and details from each text.
  • Using evidence from both texts, explain if Kerouac's description of Marx seems like an accurate or inaccurate depiction of the REAL Allen Ginsberg. Choose a specific literary element (theme, characterization, structure, point of view, etc.) or literary technique (symbolism, irony, figurative language, etc.) used by the authors to develop your answer. Your response should be a well-developed paragraph.

Step 4: Time to get your discussion on. Don't be scrd (hehe), we just want you to share your responses to the SCR questions while we wrap things up with one final chat:

  • What do "Howl" and On the Road have in common in terms of structure, voice, and theme?
  • Do you see any evidence of these writers influencing each other stylistically?
  • What insight do these texts lend to one another? For example, how might the character Marx give insight into the real Ginsberg's poem?

Already have a license?
CLICK HERE to sign in!

OPTIONS FOR PURCHASE

I am buying...
I am buying...
For teacher(s).
Price: $14.92
Good things come
in affordable packages.
GET A QUOTE FOR YOUR
SCHOOL OR DISTRICT
Teachers, want access to all courses for your own use at a low monthly rate?
Subscribe for only as long as you need.
Share

Common Core Standards  


WANT MORE HELP TEACHING ON THE ROAD?

Check out all the different parts of our corresponding learning guide.

Intro    Summary    Themes    Quotes    Characters    Analysis    Questions    Quizzes    Flashcards    Best of the Web    Write Essay    
back to top