LITERATURE: On The Road – Finale

Reading paced along with Dean’s rush cross country, and we end up in Mexico, and with a clearer view of Dean although I still don’t feel my perception of Sal Paradise is complete.

Sal does find love back in the East; Dean’s brain is fried, and Kerouac let’s us wonder what becomes of the two after these crazy years spent moving.  For I think the act of moving is more important than the country covered or the people met.  Dean is one of those people you want to like you.  He’s charismatic and yet repulsive in his devil-may-care audacity.  He lives for himself, to experience whatever he wants.  He’s fascinating because he doesn’t follow the rules and has learned how to get away with it.  He doesn’t care what people think of him in general, but he does depend strongly on his own charm to hold onto the friends that help him through his life.  He’s a winner; he’s a loser.  It all depends upon where you are at at the time.

Another thing that made me react perhaps a bit priggishly to this is that having just recently read A Clockwork Orange, I’m not real sympathetic to youth who uses that wondrous natural power of the age itself to destruction and harm in selfish motive.

I’ve made many comments about Kerouac’s writing style, and while of course it’s better than a lot of other novels I’ve read, I don’t find it particularly well styled or skilled.  It’s either genius at making us think he didn’t care enough to write it better, or he simply didn’t bother to do so.  As mentioned, it’s almost a conversation with a pothead when you’re straight; it just won’t have the same impact.

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