LITERATURE: On The Road – Tone

Kerouac is clearly conversational in this novel.  While I haven’t read much of it lately (I’m busy being Susie-Producer), I found myself falling right into the story despite it being told by a stranger who I’ve not yet come to trust much less figured out.  In flipping through the pages when I first pulled the book off my shelf I realized that it was impossible just to scan without reading a few sentences, disjointed in time as evidenced by the page placement in the book.

This story is based on some personal experiences of the author–but then isn’t everything?  But there is an underlying theme of "here, let me tell you what happened several years ago with me and some of my friends…"

I’m also enjoying his descriptive prose:

Marylou was a pretty blonde with immense ringlets of hair like a sea of golden tresses; she sat there on the edge of the couch with her hands hanging in her lap and her smoky blue country eyes fixed in a wide stare beause she was in an evil grey New York pad that she’d heard about back West, and waiting like a longbodied emaciated Modigliani surrealist woman in a serious room.  But, outside of being a sweet little girl, she was awfully dumb and capable of doing horrible things.  (p. 8)

Okay, so "golden tresses" and smoky blue eyes" aren’t exactly original, but the twist of the last sentence is intrigueing.  This is the narrator’s first impression upon meeting Marylou, and we wonder how this comes into his thoughts.  Within a page she has a fight with her boyfriend, Dean Moriarty and goes back home to Denver.  We don’t even know if she’ll come back within the story, but we’re kind of hoping she does.

Why?  Because Kerouac in a few brief paragraphs has managed to make her real.

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2 Responses to LITERATURE: On The Road – Tone

  1. Cindy says:

    That is one of the reasons I love Kerouac. Also, you will find yourself reading his words and enjoying yourself then – boom – he will write something that will knock you off your feet. Try Dharma Bums it is a great read.

  2. susan says:

    I’ve checked out Dharma on Amazon and it looks inviting. Thanks!

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