Jack Kerouac’s On The Road - The Character of Dean Moriarty

2008 Words9 Pages
The Character of Dean Moriarty in On the Road Part two of Jack Kerouac's novel, On the Road, gives the reader, for the first time, a close look at the character Dean Moriarty. This section of the novel begins when Dean, his ex-wife Marylou, and his friend Ed, meet up with his closer friend, Sal, at Sal's brother's house in Virginia. Sal had not seen Dean for over a year when they suddenly show up on the doorstep. Sal sums up their tale by saying, "So now Dean had come about four thousand miles from Frisco, via Arizona and up to Denver, inside four days, with innumerable adventures sandwiched in, and it was only the beginning" (117). Dean is an individual who has a very enthusiastic and optimistic outlook on life. But attached to his excitement for life is a kind of madness. He is constantly on the go; he is always mapping out his next adventure, so as to not miss out on any excitement. He seems to be obsessed with the idea of time: he fears wasting the little time he has in the world. The way in which the word "time" is emphasized in this novel illustrates how Dean Moriarty is overwhelmed with the sense of living for the day. A thorough description of Dean is found in the first few pages. Sal describes Dean: He had become absolutely mad in his movements; he seemed to be doing everything at the same time. It was a shaking of the head, up and down, sideways; jerky, vigorous hands; quick walking, sitting, crossing the legs, uncrossing, getting up, rubbing the hands, rubbing his fly, hitching his pants, looking up and saying 'Am,' and sudden slitting of the eyes to see everywhere; and all the time he was grabbing me by the ribs and talking, talking. (114) Dean's actions seem to mirror one who is suffering from withd... ... middle of paper ... ...t, time would be the last thing that that person would want to waste. Dean Moriarty is that person. He is thrilled about living through life's-endless adventures and experiences, and he works towards accomplishing various endeavors one after the next. If he is not on the move, he is planning his next one. If he is ever stagnant, trapped in one geographical area for too long, he becomes uncomfortable. It is almost as if a madness overtakes him. Dean was brought up in that particular environment, and he will never change. Works Cited Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. 1957. New York: Penguin, 1991. Krupat, Arnold. “Dean Moriarty as Saintly Hero.” On the Road. Text and Criticism. Scott Donaldson, ed. New York: Viking, 1979. 397-410. Tytell, John. “The Joy of On the Road.” On the Road. Text and Criticism. Scott Donaldson, ed. New York: Viking, 1979. 419-430.
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