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The Specific Style of Writing in On the Road
One particular of the principal elements of Kerouac’s narrative is his use of characterization. Kerouac’s cast types a band of multifaceted men and women whom he describes in the context of their individuality and dynamic energy, the essence of his Beat Generation. Dean is right away established as a scattered character who enjoys rambling and discussing metaphysical ideals. Kerouac depicts a conversation among Dean and his first wife Marylou, in which Dean is restlessly pacing in his apartment, disturbed by a lack of activity. He tells her “In other words, we’ve got to get on the ball darling, what I’m saying, otherwise it’ll be fluctuating and lack of correct knowledge and crystallization of our plans” (3). He speaks in a way that makes the words look to pour out of him in a stream of consciousness style. Dean is continually eager to move and go, but it is never clear exactly where he wants to finish up. He basically does not want to remain in a single location also extended, and usually expresses this in extended and nonsensical sentences that portray his inner agitation and confusion. Kerouac also describes Dean’s inconsistency by means of other character’s opinions of him. Marylou laments that Dean will “leave you out cold anytime it is in his interest” (159) and Galatea scolds him for “having no regard for anybody but yourself” (183). Dean himself acknowledges his own discrepancy and characterizes himself as a continually restive person, saying, “my trunk’s often sticking out from beneath the bed, I’m ready to leave or get thrown out” (239). The trunks serve as symbols of their traveling lives, and although Sal manages to figuratively and literally shut his away, Dean’s is omnipresent and constantly inciting him to move. All of these revelations foreshadow the novel’s conclusion, when Sal becomes painfully conscious of Dean’s accurate nature right after he is abandoned in Mexico during his time of require.
Kerouac also makes use of charged descriptions to portray the frantic and browsing atmosphere of the novel. Sal explains that he pursues men and women who are intriguing and “burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars” (five). The use of repetition and figurative language convey a sense of how the individuals in Sal’s life whom he values are the ones who transfix him and possess multiple dazzling components, managing to eclipse the other facets of his life. Sal and Dean are also endlessly seeking meaning in their journeys, and Kerouac compares the guarantee of the finish of the road to an anticipated treasure. The best of San Francisco sparkles “like jewels in the night” (13). Prior to one of his and Dean’s trips, Sal declares that he “suddenly saw that the entire country was like an oyster for us to open and the pearl was there, the pearl was there” (129). Again, repetition and simile highlight the guarantee of the journey and the location, even although the pearl and the meaning that it represents stay elusive.
Kerouac also utilizes lyrical diction and syntax to express the action and mood of the novel. His words echo the brief and flowing improvisational style of jazz music. His approach employs a choppy synthesis of extended and abrupt sentences, like when Kerouac describes a wild night in Denver, saying “everything swirled. There had been scattered parties everywhere. There was even a celebration in a castle to which we all drove-except Dean who ran off elsewhere- and in this castle we sat at a great table in the hall and shouted” (152). The narration could be interrupted by brief explanations, but it maintains a steady rhythm that reads virtually like poetry. Kerouac also adds characteristic slang, describing his friends as “the mad ones, the ones who are mad to reside, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time” (five). Kerouac’s word “mad” becomes a motif that he utilizes to characterize his group for their probing and hectic nature. Kerouac also intersperses words like “kicks” (116) to label the action that he and Dean seek, and “Beat” (184) to label their movement. Kerouac’s diction and sentence structure make the novel exclusive and underscores the feverish excitement of the piece.
In On the Road Kerouac’s use of characterization, description, and syntax help to define the originality of the perform. He makes use of these elements to explain the wanderings of Dean and Sal, who travel with an irregular but continual pace that mirrors the progression of the text. In performing so, Kerouac defines a personal journey for which means in the midst of a confused and muddled period of life.
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