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Pat Swenson, CSUN - On the Road
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Prof Pat Swenson

Campus Email: pat.swenson@csun.edu

Elements of Fiction

Literary Theory

Myth & Archetype: The Hero's Quest

ProfPat's Main Page

ProfPat's Education Links

Department Information

Department of English

708 Sierra Tower
Phone: 818.677.3431

English Department Website

Liberal Studies Program

EA 100
Phone: 818.677.3300

Liberal Studies Website

On the Road by Jack Kerouac - Discussion Guide



Sal Paradise, Dean Moriarty, Carlo Marx, Marylou, Ed Dunkel, Galatea Dunkel, Remi Boncoeur, Lee Ann, Sal's Aunt, Chad King, Tim Gray, Roland Major, Camille, The Rawlinses, Rita Bettencourt, Old Bull Lee, Elmer Hassel, Jane Lee, Lucille, Denver D. Doll, Terry, Rickey, Ponzo, Johnny, Hingham, Slim Gaillard, Roy Johnson, Inez, Stan Shephard, Victor


Person-against-self - an internal conflict of feelings.

Person-against-person - the typical protagonist vs. antagonist scenario.

Person-against-society - the protagonist battles against the larger organizations of society
(or a system of beliefs held by society).

Person-against-nature - the protagonist is threatened by a component of nature.


1950s - A Changing America: The Emergence of a Separate and Definable Youth Culture (the restless and idealistic Beat Generation)

The American Dream: Sal's Journey for Happiness and Meaning

Search for Religion/Fall from Grace

Disillusionment & Non-Conformity: Fighting Conventional Falsehoods of Suburban Life (materialism, prosperity)

Improvisation: A Way of Life Free from Constraints (references to poetry and jazz)

Stream of Consciousness Narration -- A Challenge to Traditional Prose

The American Landscape: The Road Trip Across America (regionalism and diversity)

Journey vs. Destination: Living Every Day

The Reckless Craze for Sex (and sexuality), Drugs, Alcohol, Women, Music

Public reaction to "On the Road" - 1950s & Today