Back to School Offer

Get 20% of Your First Order amount back in Reward Credits!

Get 20% of Your First Orderback in Rewards

All papers examples
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)
HIRE A WRITER!
Paper Types
Disciplines
Get a Free E-Book! ($50 Value)

Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 794

Essay

One of the most perpetual themes in twentieth-century novels has been the isolation of an individual. Perhaps most sadlyexpressed is the lone typist in JackKerouac’s Big Sur. Throughout this novel, Kerouac depicts the clash between his desires to remain aloof and self-reliant, and his need for others. This novel is based on Kerouac’s own real-life journey to San Francisco in1960 (Jones 193). It was an attempt to escape his solitude, tired life in Northport, Long Island, with his widowed mother (Jones 193). He arranged with Lorenzo to come west to recover in peace and silence at Lorenzo’s (Ferlinghetti’s) Big Surmove back to the Bay Area, site of his past magnificence (194). Rather than coming into town covertly, he appeared in bookstore of Lorenzo, City Lights, drunkenly calling interest to him and at once inviting several of his San Francisco friends to join him at the cabin at Big Sur (194). This paper discovers the tensions between the desires to be alone and the needs to be around others.

Already suffering from acute alcoholism, hebegins to repeat in desperation the theme of the novel: “On fast move, or I’m gone” (James 195). He repeats this phrase frequently as he expresses the paradox of his desperation at dissatisfiedrootlessness and the inevitable desire to escape any encroachment on his personal space. In Big Sursuch an encroachment is embodied in the family. He portrays the individual in the process of disintegration,demanding a wife and children (Theado 4).

After deciding to retire to the solitude of Lorenzo’s cabin, Jack Duluoz (Kerouac) attempts to regain his composure as he stumbles through the dark path in frightened blindness. His harrowing walk to the cabin is a metaphor for his inability to find his way in the chaotic environs of his last years. Searching has become perilous; it has now taken on the objective it did not have in his early years: finding rest and a home. In the morning he awakens to find out how he crossed a perilous bridge in the fog and below in the chasm lies the twisted wreckage of a car: “sight of that simple sad mountain…like a terrifying poem about America you could write” (Big Sur 17). The collapse and destruction of the car signifies Duluoz’sunderstanding of the failure of travel and movement not only on a personal level, but as a national motif. His impulse is to overcome the isolation of his alcoholism and the rootlessness has garnered him nothing but loneliness.

Kerouac’sboredom and restlessness signal his wishes for human company, but also point to ambivalence of necessary sacrifices the public represents (Theado 5). In staking out a role as an “observer” he is able to maintain a peripheral membership, involved but never responsible. In characterizing what the trip to the West Coast will gain him, he writes he can at least come away with “pleasant mental movies brought up at will and projected for further study…which is us” (Big Sur 25).

Significantly, he constructs atelos with an indifferent God as the primary observer, legitimating his apolitical observer’s role he maintains as his final defense against being implicated within the group (Bierowski 157). It also suggests a determinist vision of the world (one about which he continually vacillated), which also makes attempts amelioration “vanities”: Here I am almost fainting…and so is everybody else” (Big Sur 41).

In trying to gain his composure, Duluoz struggles with his desire to function within some form of communal dynamic, but finds to his greater than ever anxiety public inclusion involves responsibility and the ending of a “pure” individualist identity, one will transform his freedom to move (Bierowski 158), into what he has distinguished earlier as a systemically directed movement: “I have to get out of there – But I have no right to stay away…but now their heads are together and they are whispering” (Big Surr 199). Consequently, he realizes his behavior appears to beout of the ordinary to his “family” and friends, he suspects them of plotting against him. The ultimate result of Duluoz’s attempt at finding himself within the family community is his personal, negative liberty is transmuted into the horrifying perceptions of madness quoted: “I look at the moon it waves…the chair trembles under me” (Big Sur 200). The novel ends with his finding some solace in the sign of the cross, suggesting “something good will come out of his life” (Big Sur 216), and decides to return home to his mother and isolation, any hopes of communal or political solutions to be dismissed.

Works cited

Bierowski, Thomas R. Kerouac in Ecstasy: Shamanic Expression in the Writings. McFarland, 2011. Print.

Jones, James T. Jack Kerouac’s Duluoz Legend: The Mythic Form of An Autobiographical Fiction. SIU Press, 1999. Print.

Theado, Matt. Understanding Jack Kerouac. University of South Carolina Press, 2000. Print.

Kerouac, Jack. Big Sur. McGraw-Hill, 1981. Print.

Time is precious

Time is precious

don’t waste it!

Get instant essay
writing help!
Get instant essay writing help!
Plagiarism-free guarantee

Plagiarism-free
guarantee

Privacy guarantee

Privacy
guarantee

Secure checkout

Secure
checkout

Money back guarantee

Money back
guarantee

Related Essay Samples & Examples

Narratives That Shape Our World, Essay Example

The context and the values in the text Othello by William Shakespeare have shaped me in perspective through the main character Othello. I perceive life [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1574

Essay

Cyber Security Career Path, Essay Example

Background The field of technology is quite intriguing. It’s fascinating to see how different technologies operate and what they have in common. It amazes me [...]

Pages: 7

Words: 1796

Essay

Impacts of Wildfires on Us GDP Growth, Essay Example

Abstract When there are significant wildfires, the lives of workers, their families, and their employers are all affected. However, firefighting and repairing the damage may [...]

Pages: 19

Words: 5176

Essay

Ironic Realism in Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale, Essay Example

Margaret Atwood’s use of relatable sensory details creates an ironic realism in her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. In a society wherein every person must keep [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 617

Essay

English as a Lingua Franca, Essay Example

Introduction People with various native languages commonly communicate using a lingua franca (O’Regan, 2014), a speech, or a mix of languages.  The phenomenon of English [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 914

Essay

The Trump Administration, Essay Example

The rhetorical agenda for the article is to convince the Trump Administration to urge employers to issue hazard pay for their employees and to align [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1270

Essay

Narratives That Shape Our World, Essay Example

The context and the values in the text Othello by William Shakespeare have shaped me in perspective through the main character Othello. I perceive life [...]

Pages: 6

Words: 1574

Essay

Cyber Security Career Path, Essay Example

Background The field of technology is quite intriguing. It’s fascinating to see how different technologies operate and what they have in common. It amazes me [...]

Pages: 7

Words: 1796

Essay

Impacts of Wildfires on Us GDP Growth, Essay Example

Abstract When there are significant wildfires, the lives of workers, their families, and their employers are all affected. However, firefighting and repairing the damage may [...]

Pages: 19

Words: 5176

Essay

Ironic Realism in Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale, Essay Example

Margaret Atwood’s use of relatable sensory details creates an ironic realism in her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. In a society wherein every person must keep [...]

Pages: 2

Words: 617

Essay

English as a Lingua Franca, Essay Example

Introduction People with various native languages commonly communicate using a lingua franca (O’Regan, 2014), a speech, or a mix of languages.  The phenomenon of English [...]

Pages: 3

Words: 914

Essay

The Trump Administration, Essay Example

The rhetorical agenda for the article is to convince the Trump Administration to urge employers to issue hazard pay for their employees and to align [...]

Pages: 5

Words: 1270

Essay

Get a Free E-Book ($50 in value)

Get a Free E-Book

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!

How To Write The Best Essay Ever!