Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Traveling Reader

Throughout the first half of the novel On the Road, Jack Kerouac weaves his sentences in a way that they create a journey of their own. His sentences demonstrate a structure that weaves through the actions of the novel, creating streams of consciousness which propel the reader into the journey. The main use of sentence structure, being that of run on or continuing sentences, quickens the pace for the actions in the novel and allows the reader to travel along through the book with the main character, Sal.

Kerouac makes the actions of his novel more obtainable by mesmerizing the reader with his flowing sentences that create a daze of actions for the reader to fall into. He sets of Sal on his first trip out west stating, “[s]o, leaving my big half-manuscript sitting on top of my desk, and folding back my comfortable home sheets for the last time one morning, I left with my canvas bag in which a few fundamental things were packed and took off for the Pacific Ocean with the fifty dollars in my pocket.” (Kerouac 9). This sentence allows for the readers themselves to feel as if they have been brought into the scene and completed the tasks along with Sal before setting off for their own journey. The way Kerouac structures his sentences creates a sense that the reader their self is going through the motions that are being described.

He writes as if the main characters direct thoughts are pouring onto the page in a raw unprocessed form. It appears that Sal describes things as they are happening and he processes them through the actual writing of the book. He does not let the action occur and then reiterate it to the reader but rather makes his journey that of the readers as well. This stream of consciousness then could be that of the reader’s own thoughts as if they are the ones going through the journey that is described. Kerouac effectively works to make the journey the center of the novel by pulling the reader into the actions through his use of long, winding sentences that are a journey in themselves.

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