On the Road

Jack Kerouac’s 1957 novel “On The Road” is an adventure of sorts but not one that is all to ordinary.  Between 1947 and 1950, key members of the beatnik generation met up in various parts of the country and essentially just traveled back and forth, cris-crossing the country, picking up a new guy here, working a job there or getting married several times.  The book retains popularity today and is ranked as the 55th on the list of best novels of the 20th century, despite the fact it is written fairly sloppily in the “spontaneous prose” format.  Shortly after the Beatnik generation faded out but before the hippie and anti-war movement came into play was the generation came Ken Kesey, infamous for his book “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest”.  Kesey once proclaimed at an interview in 1999 “I was to young to be a beatnik and to old to be a hippie.”  Kesey’s book takes place in a psychiatric ward in Oregon, which is under the thumb of Nurse ratchet who is ranked 5 on the all times villain list by the American Film Institute.  The main character of the book has little background information but from what is given we can assume that he lived a life similar to the one Kerouac’s alter ego Sal Paradise lived in “On the Road”.  The adventure that both men face,  either on the road, or in a mental asylum,  just shows that someone who goes against the grain is bound to have an adventure.

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  1. I show this film in the Film and Lit class…everyone loves it. The book is excellent as well written from a great POV (Chief) which makes the narration a little different than what Milos Forman the director could do. Nurse Rachet Great links!


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