Burroughs's Naked Lunch and Kerouac's On the Road are both examples of Beat literature, but Naked Lunch has a far more disjointed, experimental style. While both books are novels that describe their protagonists' wayward travels, Naked Lunch has a disjointed style, while On the Road has a more traditional narrative.
Sal Paradise, the protagonist of the largely autobiographical On the Road, goes on a series of road trips with his friend Dean Moriarty (representing the real-life Neal Cassady). The trips are chronological in order, and the reader can follow the narrative. In Naked Lunch, on the other hand, the autobiographical, drug-addicted main character (William Lee) goes on a series of travels that are somewhat dreamlike in nature and that do not follow a determined order. Instead, Burroughs's fragmented narrative can be read in any order.
While Kerouac describes the spiritual alienation of the Beats, he does not use obscenity as Burroughs does (in fact, Naked Lunch was originally banned in certain cities, including Boston and Los Angeles). Burroughs's book, which also features extreme violence (unlike Kerouac's book), has been examined for its social commentary on issues such as drugs, while Kerouac's novel, though emblematic of the Beat generation, is not as wide-ranging in what it discusses.