Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

How does Jack Kerouac’s evocation of “the road” differ from Whitman’s of “the open road”?

In what ways did On the Road anticipate the cultural preoccupations of the 1960’s?

Were the most important literary influences on Kerouac traditional ones or writers of his time?

What did Kerouac learn from the people he called “bums”?

How does Kerouac convey the character of Dean Moriarty in On the Road? What traits in this character, based on his friend Neal Cassady, did he most admire?