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Jack Kerouac and the beat movement Essay

"World War II marked a wide dividing line between the old and the new in American society and the nation's literature"(The World Book Encyclopedia 427) . When world War II ended there was a pent up desire that had been postponed due to the war. Post war America brought about a time when it seemed that every young man was doing the same thing, getting a job, settling down and starting a family. America was becoming a nation of consumers. One group that was against conforming to this dull American lifestyle was referred to as'Beatniks'. "The Beats or Beatniks condemned middle class American life as morally bankrupt. They praised individualism as the highest human goal"(The World Book Encyclopedia 428). This perspective was present in poetry and literature through out the beat movement.
One of the most important works produced during the beat movement was Jack Kerouac's On The Road. In the novel Jack Kerouac's alter ego Sal Paradise represents the American man who realizes he doesn't want to conform to societies pressures but still hasn't realized what it is exactly he wants to do. He is a man who has very little direction and is very much lost in the world as he knows it. Kerouac seems to be constantly trying to escape. In examining the novel one might wonder what is Kerouac escaping and by what means does he do so? Kerouac used two means of escape through out the novel and through out his life.
Hisfirst means of escape was his constant travel. He traveled from east to west, New York to San Francisco and stopped everywhere in between. He made this trip over and over, constantly on the road. The simple title of the novel exemplifies Kerouac's ongoing need to travel. When he and his friends got tried of traveling east to west they traveled north to south, driving all the way down to Mexico City. His travels gave him the opportunity to be an outsider with no worries. He …

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