Treatment of Women in Jack Kerouac’s On The Road

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The Treatment of Women in On The Road The women in Jack Kerouac's On The Road were, it seems, not afforded the same depth in character which the author gave the men. The treatment of the women characters in both word and action by Sal and Dean seems to show that women could only be a virgin/mother figure or a whore. Throughout the novel there are many instances in which women and their feelings or actions are either referred to flippantly or blatantly degraded. It can be said, however, that Sal (Kerouac) did not necessarily agree with this narrow female identity, and there is evidence to support this claim. The novel also shows though that Sal did participate in this male forced female stereotyping whether he wanted to or not. This is not to say that Sal (Kerouac) is necessarily malicious in his treatment of women but more possibly he is merely acting in accordance with the way he was raised and the way in which society treated women at the time. In effect while Sal and the novel may try to make points against the poor treatment of women, on the whole the novel tends to reinforce the sexist male domination at the time. The novel, on a certain level endorses the narrow female identity and the virgin/whore dichotomy contained therein, while at the same time attempting unsuccessfully to rise above the limited female identity. Women play a key role in this novel in many ways. In the case of... ... middle of paper ... ...el, it is there as a reflection of his belief system and the attitudes of the time. Works Cited Page Bartlett, Lee. The Beats: Essays in Criticism. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. 1981. Cassady, Carolyn. Heartbeat: My Life With Jack and Neal. Berkeley: Creative Arts Books Company. 1976. Cassady, Neal. "Letter to Jack Kerouac." March 7, 1947. Challis, Chris. Quest For Kerouac. London: Faber and Faber Limited. 1984. Dardess, George. "The Delicate Dynamics of Friendship: A Reconsideration of Kerouac's On The Road." American Literature. v46: 200-206. 1974. Kerouac, Jack. On The Road. New York: Penguin Books Limited. 1955. Watson, Steven. The Birth of The Beat Generation. New York:
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