The role of Jack Kerouac in the literary world, his major fiction works, their themes and ideas, characters, inspirations


The role of Jack Kerouac in the literary world, his major fiction works, their themes and ideas, characters, inspirations.


The first novel by Jack Kerouac was The Town and the City published in 1950. The novel was semiautobiographical and told about Kerouac’s own family’s decline. It is a tale of Kerouac’s and his friends’ boyhood, “in which Kerouac himself takes shape in the five sons of the fictionalised Martin family” (Hobby, 2010: 208). It dealt with his struggle to balance the expectations of his family with his unconventional life. He started writing it while he was at the hospital, forced to retreat from his “Beat generation” living and later death of his father in 1946 sparked his writing work further. He completed his manuscript of 1,183 pages after two years of travelling with Neal Cassady, and with Ginsberg’s help in 1949 it was appointed to be edited into a publishable form and published a year after. Although it was met with moderate critical success, Kerouac thought of it as a failure.

His other works include his last famous great novel Big Sur, published in 1962, where he recounts the events surrounding Kerouac's three brief visits to a cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur, owned by Kerouac's friend and Beatnik poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Other works worth mentioning are The Subterraneans (1958), Maggie Cassidy (1959), Visions of Gerard (1963) that was inspired by the death of his elder brother, Desolation Angels (1965), Visions of Cody (1972), Wake Up: A Life of the Buddha (1955, published 2008). Although he is most famous for his novels, he also wrote poetry which was mostly long-form free verse as well as his own version of the Japanese haiku form. Some of his poetry books include Mexico City Blues (1959), The Scripture of the Golden Eternity (1960), Old Angel Midnight (1973). In addition, he released several albums of spoken word poetry during his lifetime.

With the stardom of On the Road, Jack Kerouac soon became a celebrity. However, his personal life got downhill from there. He drank excessively, experimented with drugs even more, suffered from depression and retreated from his previous social life staying at home where he lived with his mother and his wife at that time, Stella Sampas. He had two brief marriages before her, yet they only lasted for several months. He gave up all his Buddhist beliefs and replaced it with devout Catholicism of his mother. The Bohemian lifestyle of the Beatniks caught up with him as he suffered from health issues that were the direct consequences of his lifelong abuse of drugs and alcohol. He died on October 21, 1969, at the age of 47.

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The role of Jack Kerouac in the literary world, his major fiction works, their themes and ideas, characters, inspirations. (May 13, 2017). https://documents.exchange/the-role-of-jack-kerouac-in-the-literary-world-his-major-fiction-works-their-themes-and-ideas-characters-inspirations/ Reviewed on 23:40, December 5 2020
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