The Dharma Bums Questions and Answers
by Jack Kerouac

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How would Japhy define freedom?

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Published in 1958, The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac continues the concepts and themes presented in his previous novel, On the Road.

As a member of the Beat Generation, Kerouac confronted in his works the conservative post-World War II status quo in the United States, raising questions about political and economic struggles, sexuality, and freedom of expression.

The Dharma Bums also explores Kerouac’s interest in nature, the West Coast adoption and practice of Buddhism, and his quest to find spiritual meaning in life. The fictional character Japhy Ryder, described as the “number one Dharma Bum,” is based in part on Kerouac’s friend, the poet Gary Snyder who was among the first American writers to embrace and teach Buddhist concepts.

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