Jack Kerouac Essay

Jack Kerouac Essay

Length: 1885 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Jack Kerouac



     In the beginning Jack Kerouac lived a wild and exciting life outside the realm of
everyday "normal" American life. Though On the Road and The Dharma Bums were Kerouac's only commercial sucesses, he was a man who changed American literature and pop-culture. Kerouac virtually created a life-style devoted to life, art, literature, music, and poetry. When his movement grew out of his control, he came to despise it, and died lonely on the other side of what he once loved and cherished above all else. But, on the way he created a style of writing which combined elements of all the great writers, with speed, common language, real people, and the reality of his life.


     In a public junior high school he began to read feverishly. In English classes he
flourished, but socially he did not. Impressed deeply by Mark Twain and Jack London,
Kerouac created his own imaginary world, which he recorded in hand-written "newspapers." These led to his first "novel" Jack Kerouac Explores the Merrimack,
which he wrote in a notebook at the age of twelve (Clark, 22).

     Skipping classes at Lowell High School, in Lowell Massachusetts, Kerouac was
exposed to the work of Thomas Wolfe by a fellow student Sammy Sampas. They encouraged writing in each other, and Kerouac began writing seriously. Since the Kerouacs could not afford college, a local priest suggested he try for a football scholarship (Clark, 32). He was offered two; one from Colombia University and the other from Boston College.

     Kerouac opted for Columbia and first spent one year, by the request of the university, at the Horace Mann School for Boys. Here he didn't fit in with the rich prep-
school crowd, but he was exposed to Hemmingway (Clark, 37). Here, also, in a school
publication his work was first printed (Clark, 39).

     After two years of school at Columbia Kerouac made a decision that would change his life. He always believed he learned more outside of the classroom than in; and so after a series of arguments with his coach, he quit the team. Not long after he dropped out of school as well. He served briefly in the navy, and drinking heavily, was discharged on psychiatric grounds(Clark, 52). Upon his return home he got a job with as a Merchant Marine. When he wasn't working he spent his time with Allen Ginsberg, Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs, and Neal Cass...


... middle of paper ...


...ectric...). Kerouac, though, was a conservative at heart and
avoided the psychedelic drug movement (Clark, 193). This eventually to Kerouac being
despised by even those who's careers he began, and lives he had changed. In one meeting
one of the Merry Pranksters had covered a couch with a flag. Ginsberg watched Kerouac
slowly fold it up and "marveled sadly... history was... out of Jack's hands now," (Clark,
201).

     

     Neal Cassady died of a drug overdose in Mexico in 1968. Not long after, Jack
Kerouac died of an abdominal hemorrhage and cirrhosis of the liver, he had literally
drunk himself to death. He was only 47. He died a lonely death. A sad ending to the sad
writer who gave so much of himself in his belief that "writing was his duty on earth."



Works Cited

Clark, Tom. Jack Kerouac: A Biography. Paragon House.

"Jack Kerouac." 3 Oct.1998 <http://www.charm.net/~brooklyn/People/JackKerouac.

     html>

Kerouac, Jack. Big Sur. New York: Viking Press, 1959.

--- The Dharma Bums. New York: Viking Press, 1958.

--- On the Road. New York: Viking Press, 1957.


Wolfe, Tom. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. New York: Bantam Books, 1968.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Jack Kerouac's On The Road

- Jack Kerouac's On The Road Jack Kerouac is considered a legend in history as one of America's best and foremost Beat Generation authors. The term "Beat" or "Beatnic" refers to the spontaneous and wandering way of life for some people during the period of postwar America, that seemed to be induced by jazz and drug-induced visions. "On the Road" was one such experience of Beatnic lifestyle through the eyes and heart of Jack Kerouac. It was a time when America was rebuilding after WW I. Describing the complexity and prosperity of the postwar society was not Karouac's original intent....   [tags: Jack Kerouac On Road Essays]

Powerful Essays
526 words (1.5 pages)

Essay on Jack Kerouac's On the Road

- Jack Kerouac's On the Road Works Cited Not Included      Jack Kerouac is the first to explore the world of the wandering hoboes in his novel, On the Road. He created a world that shows the lives and motivations of this culture he himself named the 'Beats.' Kerouac saw the beats as people who rebel against everything accepted to gain freedom and expression. Although he has been highly criticized for his lack of writing skills, he made a novel that is both realistic and enjoyable to read. He has a complete disregard for developed of plot or characters, yet his descriptions are incredible....   [tags: Jack Kerouac Road Essays Beats]

Powerful Essays
3098 words (8.9 pages)

On the Road: Jack Kerouac's Rejection of the Middle Class American Dream

- Jack Kerouac was one of a group of young men who, immediately after the Second World War, protested against what they saw as the blandness, conformity and lack of cultural purpose of middle-class life in America. The priorities of people of their age, in the mainstream of society, were to get married, to move the suburbs, to have children and to accumulate wealth and possessions. Jack Kerouac and his friends consciously rejected this pursuit of stability and instead looked elsewhere for personal fulfillment....   [tags: Jack Kerouac On The Road]

Powerful Essays
1600 words (4.6 pages)

Jack Kerouac Essay

- Jack Kerouac      In the beginning Jack Kerouac lived a wild and exciting life outside the realm of everyday "normal" American life. Though On the Road and The Dharma Bums were Kerouac's only commercial sucesses, he was a man who changed American literature and pop-culture. Kerouac virtually created a life-style devoted to life, art, literature, music, and poetry. When his movement grew out of his control, he came to despise it, and died lonely on the other side of what he once loved and cherished above all else....   [tags: Writer Author Jack Kerouac Biography Essays]

Powerful Essays
1885 words (5.4 pages)

Jack Kerouac and The Beat Generation Essay

- ... Jack Kerouac is inspired to communicate essential realities that America is not exposed too and he finds these truths in Tristessa. He writes deliberate prose in this novel to give it a more authentic expression in order to better develop what he is trying to let America know. Death is a phenomenon that many do not understand in America. America tells many that life should be lived in a certain way in order to live life to its fullest before death comes creeping along. Humans create this false pursuit of happiness before they leave this world....   [tags: born to die, Tristessa's stories]

Powerful Essays
1170 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on The Life of Jack Kerouac

- Jack Kerouac Born March 12, 1922, to French Canadian parents, Jack Kerouac’s given name was Jean Louis Kirouac. He grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts, surrounded with his two great loves, football and the written word. He spoke a French dialect in which some of his later works were written, finally learning English at school, aged six. His athletic skills later earned him a scholarship to Columbia University. He wrote many pieces for the school paper while a fractured tibia forced him from the team....   [tags: biography, biographical essays]

Powerful Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Jack Kerouac's On the Road and Allen Ginsberg's Howl

- Jack Kerouac's On the Road and Allen Ginsberg's Howl Works Cited It was a 1951 TIME cover story, which dubbed the Beats a ‘Silent Generation, ’ that led to Allen Ginsberg’s retort in his poem ‘America,’ in which he vocalises a frustration at this loss of self- importance. The fifties Beat Generation, notably through Jack Kerouac’s On the Road and Allen Ginsberg’s Howl as will here be discussed, fought to revitalise individuality and revolutionise their censored society which seemed to produce everything for the masses at the expense of the individual’s creative and intellectual potential....   [tags: 1950 History Kerouac Ginsberg Howl Essays]

Powerful Essays
3844 words (11 pages)

The Remarkable Life of Jack Kerouac Essay

- When initially venturing to find the perfect person for this report, I first looked at some very interesting people. I found most of these interesting people were, at second glance, not so fascinating. I don't doubt that every one of them had a drastic impact on the world around them, but I found that none of these people suited the taste I was looking for. I needed a person who was not only interesting and beneficial to this world but also had a certain characteristic…I wanted this person to be "cool." I needed this distinction because I thought in order to do this report I needed to relate to this person in some way, and as a member of the younger generation, with unique views, I...   [tags: The King of The Beats]

Powerful Essays
1130 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on On the Road by Jack Kerouac

- On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, is an honest story of a friendship, and four trips across America. The narrator is Sal Paradise, an aspiring novelist who lives with his aunt in New Jersey. Sal&#8217;s best friend is Dean Moriarty. Sal idolizes Dean for his laidback cowboy style, his ease with women, and his all around joy in living. Over the course of the book, Dean marries, divorces, makes love to, and impregnates numerous women. Sal is considerably less promiscuous, but he doesn&#8217;t seem to hold women in any higher of a light than Dean does....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
540 words (1.5 pages)

Jack Kerouac and The Beat Essay

- Jack Kerouac and The Beat        Jack Kerouac, was born on March 12, 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts, as the youngest of three children.  Jack decided to be a writer after his brother Gerard died at the age of nine.  From the life and death experience of his brother's death, and the Catholic faith of his childhood, he developed a spiritual tendency in his character that would last throughout his life.  The fact that Kerouac was a spiritual "seeker," may be the most vital aspect of his life.  In post WWII, Eisenhower America, Jack Kerouac came from a poor rustic industrial community to change the face of American Culture forever.  He chronicled the wild rebellious culture of "the Beats" in t...   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays]

Powerful Essays
1619 words (4.6 pages)