On the Road with Jack
by Elissa Waldmuller, Lifestyles Editor
On the Road is the book responsible for starting a whole generation of bongo playing, finger snapping, beret-wearing, liberal thinkers. For those who don't know what generation that is, it's the "Beat" generation. The "Beat" generation originally started in the late 1940's. The man who is most often held responsible for the spawning of the "Beat" generation is Jack Kerouac and his fictional autobiography, On the Road.
The year is 1947 and the place is a wintry New York(at least at the beginning of the journey). It is here that readers are introduced to Sal Paradise (Jack Kerouac's alter ego) and his group of eclectic friends. Through friends of his, Sal is introduced to a man named Dean. It is through Dean that Sal gets the idea to start hitchhiking across the country. At first Sal only hitchhikes to meet up with his friends out West, but, after a while, it becomes a sort of quest to find himself and figure out what he's all about.
On the Road reveals to the reader what it's like to be a man with no strings to hold him, traveling across the country, meeting new people, and discovering new places. It gives people a glimpse into the life of the man responsible for turning people on to the idea of being a "beat." Jack Kerouac brought the beat generation out of the big cities and into the homes of suburbia.
The book is packed full of colorful characters, interesting places and intriguing situations. From beginning to end, the book keeps going at an easy pace and never seems to lag. The people, the places, and the situations are constantly changing, yet one thing always stays true: there's more to see than just your backyard and there are more people to meet than those in the neighborhood. Although I wouldn't recommend trying to
hitchhike anywhere these days, reading the book is almost as good!