Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Positive American Novel

I read the first half of On The Road as a very pro-American novel. Kerouac really captures, through his energetic characters and various landscapes, an appropriate image of the country as a liberating, captivating place that is full of change and individual discovery. The class has been thinking of a way to assign a tattoo-like idea to the American culture and I think Kerouac’s portrayal fits nicely in that it allows the American landscape to represent a unifying element. In recognizing a wholeness in the Mississippi River, a river that has commonly been used as a symbol of American commerce and travel, he gives a power to the natural side of America that other countries do not and cannot recognize (without personal experience). And like the constant movement of the river, his characters constantly move throughout the country, broadening the river’s domain and their own individual senses of self and understanding. Kerouac and his characters see the country as an oyster that will someday provide them with the necessary pearl, another strong, natural image that portrays America as the land of opportunity, trust, and hope. Despite the drug use, Kerouac allows the readers to see America in a refreshing and innocent light, in a light that must not be forgotten or replaced but simply built upon.

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