Underprivileged Society In Jack Kerouac's On The Road

Decent Essays

Having been amongst the first and most profound post-war, counterculture novels written, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, provides an interesting insight into the changing landscapes in the United States, and the extent to which America was undergoing a new paradigm. Kerouac’s novel outlines the anti-establishment lifestyle through the lense of the two primary characters, Dean and Sal, who are seen traveling around the country on their various escapades. However, the novel takes careful measure to display the extent to which America was becoming a capitalist and corporate nation, as reaping the benefits of such a massive war jump started the economy. The marginalization and racially-divided society that existed is a major theme throughout the novel, however, not in the traditional manner. In doing so, Kerouac tends to adopt a romantic appeal to the low-income and oppressed communities, without grasping the understanding of the privileged position he is in. In analyzing the extent to which Kerouac depicts a romanticized view of underprivileged and oppressed communities, it is apparent that he provides insight into the inherent issues of white privilege, subconscious suppression, and cultural appropriation that continues to plague American society in the modern day. Perhaps the foremost notion of white privilege that may not be inordinately explicit is the fact that Kerouac’s characters are enabled to do what they want, when they want. Not to say that they are not confined by

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