Essay about East vs. West in "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac

1372 Words Apr 13th, 2013 6 Pages
Throughout the novel On the Road, there is a constant battle between the East and West. Dean, from the West, has very different morals than Sal, from the East. Sal seems to have his life all figured out when he stays with his Aunt in New York. He's writing his novel and has a girlfriend that he has actually considered marrying in the future. Unfortunately, whenever Dean shows up Sal acts like a totally different person. He drinks and he parties all because he can't find a balance of what is right for him. Although Sal tries to maintain a normal lifestyle in the East, he is eventually drawn back to the West just to be disappointed once more. In the end, Kerouac demonstrates that a more moral and responsible lifestyle is best. The West is …show more content…
The West’s morals turn out to be very different than those of the East’s. Considering Dean is the icon of the West leaves Sal to become the icon of the East. Here, marriage is a sacred thing and the importance of family comes naturally. A good example would be when Sal spends the night with any woman he sleeps with. Although he just wants them for the sex, he also feels obligated to try and get to know them. He constantly asks them “what do [they] want out of life?” (57). He doesn’t treat girls like some sex object because that is not how he was raised. This demonstrates how Sal feels like he needs to commit to some sort of relationship in order to feel okay with the fact that he will eventually sleep with them. At the end of part one, Sal returns home to visit his Aunt in New York. After his return, his Aunt finally finished a beautiful rug that she had formed from clothing. “She worked on a great rag rug woven of all the clothes in my family for years…as complex and as rich as the passage of time itself” (107-108). This rug symbolizes their belief in family relations. A strong family past lives on into the future, and Sal firmly understands that as he is home now; eventually taking a trip to visit his brother in Testament. Although Sal is a man of responsibility and family, ha can’t help but make an effort to live the West’s
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