The Beat Generation: Their Rebellion and Pursuit in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road
After the Second World War，the economy of America developed fast, Americans were seriously affected by the materialism and consumerism, people’s emotions and spiritual freedom were ignored at that time. On the Road first published in 1957, introduced the new term "the Beat generation" to the world and made Kerouac one of the most controversial and best-known writers of his time. Thanks to the novel people were aware of the Beat Generation, and the novel became the “Bible” of the Beat Generation. Kerouac who is the author of the novel also became a subculture idol for the public. In this paper I focus on the Beat Generation’s cultural rebellion and spiritual pursuit in On the Road. The main characters in On the Road represent the spirit of the Beat Generation and the subculture. Jazz and Zen Buddhism play an important role in the movement of the Beat Generation: what Sal and Dean understood in and identified with jazz, was protest against the white middle-class world, and Buddhism Thought is the guide of their spiritual pursuit. Therefore, On the Road is not just a novel of the symbol of the era of the Beat Generation, but it also has realistic significances to both American and Chinese young people. On the Road thoroughly depicts Beat Generation’s betrayal to tradition, dissatisfaction to reality, and attitudes of pursuing ideal life. Their rebellion presented their ideal pursuit and persistent belief which teach the youth to learn to establish proper outlook on life and world.
Keywords: rebellion; pursuit; the Beat Generation; Jazz; Zen Buddhism