On the Road Questions and Answers
by Jack Kerouac

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What is the rising action of On the Road?

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The rising action is depicted primarily through exposition by Sal, who tells us of his journey west and back again, winding across the United States in search of a higher intellectual or spiritual truth, looking to find the Socratic "It," the shadow on the cave wall. On the Road is a roman à clef, which is to say a novel with a "key," and offers many hints of the fact that Sal is a rough stand-in for Jack Kerouac, who wrote extensively about exploring America, mind-altering drugs and substances, notions of Far East philosophy, and the business of making meaning. In On the Road , we could consider the rising action as Sal crisscrossing the country...

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