Kerouac Searched for the Authentic America

17 Jul


Jack Kerouac has sometimes been accused of being anti-American or of destroying American values, and yet On the Road depicts a young man reveling in America. On the Road is, in many ways, a love letter to the true America. His honest search has inspired countless readers to pack their bags and hit the road, to discover America for themselves instead of relying on what the history books and network news report and the images coming out of Hollywood and glossy magazines.

Burning Furiously Beautiful details Kerouac’s research into American history and what he saw as he traveled throughout this amazing country.

“Devouring history books and Westerns alike, Kerouac lit out after the authentic America, an America that wasn’t mass produced or steeped in fear of atom bombs and Communism but blazed intrepidly, recklessly onward into the horizon, asking:

‘Wither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?'”

~ Burning Furiously Beautiful

Want to know which books Kerouac read and what sort of authentic people he met while on the road? Buy the book from Lulu or Amazon.


4 Responses to “Kerouac Searched for the Authentic America”

  1. J Haeske July 21, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    That is true, but at the same time I often wonder why Kerouac didn’t travel more than he did. There were so many areas in the US he didn’t visit, I believe he could have travelled a lot more than he did.

    • Stephanie Nikolopoulos July 22, 2014 at 10:40 am #

      Great point. In fact, he seemed to travel less than some of his friends or to spend less time abroad. For instance, Ginsberg, Orlovsky, Burroughs, and Corso stayed at the Beat Hotel in Paris, but Kerouac didn’t — although Kerouac did, of course, travel abroad. I think there’s been a lot of emphasis on Kerouac’s travels, but I think for him in some ways it was more about the journey — the experience, the people he met along the way, the people he traveled with — than the actual traveling.

      • J Haeske July 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

        But to get to the actual point you raised, you are right. He was, well at least part of him was, searching for the true America and the true American experience. So the question is what makes it ‘true’ and in how far does the ‘underbelly’ belong to it. So you are absolutely right, both in your post and your comment to mine.

      • Stephanie Nikolopoulos July 25, 2014 at 10:09 am #

        Great point, J! Is the “underbelly” more true than life on the surface or life for the elite?

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