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American Heroes2 - American Heroes While most American...

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1/13/2008 American Heroes While most American heroes of the 1950s came into being by appealing to the masses, Japhy Ryder came from the other direction by spreading a message of non- conformity, simplicity, and spontaneity. This is why, in Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums , Alvah Goldbook considers Japhy Ryder as “a great new hero of American culture” (32). Japhy, who represents Gary Snyder in reality, is all but the typical American hero. Judging only by his appearance, one would hardly imagine him to be an idol. “Japhy was in rough workingman’s clothes he’d bought secondhand in Goodwill stores to serve him on mountain climbs and hikes and for sitting in the open at night, for campfires, for hitchhiking up and down the Coast” (11). Other heroes of the 1950s such as Charlton Heston and Elvis Presley could hardly say the same. Another major difference between Japhy Ryder and other American heroes is his way of living. Unlike Marilyn Monroe, an icon of the 1950s, Japhy lived in less than desirable conditions. “Japhy lived in his own shack which was infinitely smaller than
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