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On the Road | Study Guide

Jack Kerouac

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Course Hero. "On the Road Study Guide." Course Hero. 23 Sep. 2016. Web. 1 Dec. 2022. <>.

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Course Hero. "On the Road Study Guide." September 23, 2016. Accessed December 1, 2022.


Course Hero, "On the Road Study Guide," September 23, 2016, accessed December 1, 2022,

On the Road | Infographic

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

on-the-road-jack-kerouac_UPDATEEscaping the "death" of a conventional life, writers Sal and Dean embark on an epic road trip criss-crossing the United States. Along the way, they meet unique characters, embrace wild experiences, and learn what it means to be free. For these rebellious best friends, the destination is never as important as the journey.Rebellion & the Open RoadTHEMES & MOTIFSAmericaWhile on the road, Sal documents many aspects of American life, culture, and nature.FreedomSal, Dean, and their intellectual friends embrace freedom ofthought and experience.FriendshipThrough their experiences, Sal and Dean develop a bond of lifelong friendship.MasculinityThrough their sexual exploits and adventures, Sal and Dean explore what it means to be male.CountercultureAs part of the Beat Movement, Sal and Dean embrace the underbellyof American culture.SalBased on Jack Kerouac; searches for adventure and identity on the open roadDeanBased on Kerouac's drifter friend Neal Cassady; shirks responsibility to embrace freedomCarloBased on poet Allen Ginsberg; encourages Sal and Dean to embrace countercultureChadAcademic; introduces Sal and DeanOld Bull LeeBased on William S. Burroughs; tall and drawling influenceMarylou, Camille & InezDean's first, second, and third wivesTerry, Lucille & LauraLove interests Sal finds on his tripMain CharactersRomanceFriendshipMarriageSal, Part 3, Chapter 5e had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.Sources: The Beat Generation FAQ by Rich Weidman, Beat Museum, Encyclopaedia Britannica, The GuardianCopyright © 2016 Course Hero, Inc.Together with writers William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac formed the literary Beat Movement. On the Road is the movement's most well-known book and rocketed Kerouac to fame. The author, trying to live up to his wild reputation, struggled with addiction, which contributed to his early death.JACK KEROUAC1922–69AuthorSymbolsThe Shrouded TravelerRepresents death from following cultural norms; appears in Dean's dreamThe RoadSymbolizes freedom and opportunityTimeSymbolizes the characters' youth ticking away3Times Kerouac married, like Dean in the novel3Weeks it took Kerouac to write his first draft of the novelYears the manuscript for On the Road was rejected by publishers~7Feet of scroll used to write the novel's first draft120On the Roadby the NumbersJack Kerouac1957EnglishNovelAuthorYear PublishedOriginal LanguageOn the RoadAdventure

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