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Rebels Project: Jack Kerouac

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by JamesEmily
Last updated 4 years ago

Discipline:
Language Arts
Subject:
Writers Biographies

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Rebels Project: Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac Were the 1950s truly an era of consensus and conformity?

Contextualized Timeline

Jack Kerouac was born on March 12, 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was birthed by parents of Quebec, Canadian descent. Kerouac’s hometown was known for it’s blue collar lifestyle and heavy emphasis on drinking, yet his parents were not affected by their surroundings. However, when Keroauc’s older brother, Gerard, passed away from rheumatic fever at the age of nine, the family took the death harshly. Keroauc’s father began to drink and lose interest in the Catholic faith while Keroauc and his mother took a stronger stance within the faith. As Kerouac grew older,he gained a fondness for reading and decided he wanted to be a writer. He realized sports would be his way to attend college . He was offered football scholarships to multiple universities and accepted the offer from Columbia University. However, he was injured and therefore benched losing his position on the team and in his academics. After losing his scholarship, Kerouac joined the Navy but was rejected after ten days due to his, “seclusive and apathetic” behavior. After his discharge, Kerouac moved to New York where he met and befriended Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs. While in New York, Kerouac wrote his first novel entitled, Town and City. Kerouac also befriended Neal Cassady; the two men travelled extensively across the country which became the basis for Kerouac’s novel, On the Road. As Kerouac aged he became heavily dependent on drugs and most notably alcohol. This eventually led to his death at the age of 47 on October 21st, 1969.

Biography

11 Sentence Paragraph

1928: At six years old, Kerouac believed he had heard the voice of God while practicing penance. 1931: Kerouac and family are struck by Great Depression.1942: Kerouac joined the Navy in hopes of entering WWII.1942: After ten days of boot camp, Kerouac is discharged from the Navy due to “seclusive” behavior. 1949: Kerouac began working on his most noted novel, On the Road. 1951: Kerouac is stricken with extreme drug and alcohol abuse. 1954: Kerouac found peace through the practice of Buddhism

Accomplishments

Coined the term: “Beat Generation”On the Road deemed as one of the "Most Influential Novels of the 20th Century" Kerouac emphasized the idea of “spontaneous prose” Kerouac along with Ginsberg were early proprietors of the “Hippie Movement”Time magazine deemed Kerouac one of the "100 Most Influential Writers of 20th Century"

Jack Kerouac proved himself to be a man against conformity through his seclusive attitude, incorporation of a new style of prose, and his provacative imagery through his novel, On the Road. Kerouac portrayed himself as a a seclusive man throughout various aspects of his life. When he was a child, he was often found praying alone rather than with his assigned group during his church studies; Kerouac’s attitude even managed to allot him an honorable discharge from the United States Navy after 10 days of boot camp, the Naval psychiatrist deemed him “apathetic” in nature. Kerouac’s odd need to be alone definately made him stand apart during a time period where social norms involved having the capability to be socialable. Kerouac also proved himself an outcast through his creation of “spontaneous prose.” This new prose involved improvisational writing, usually inspired by jazz music, which challenged the writer to create a beautiful piece in the moment. Many older poets and writers found Kerouac’s new idea as a disgrace which involved little thinking at all since there was no form of redraft essentially making the original the final piece, however, Kerouac defined the loss of a redraft as finding the perfect moment when needed, or finding “it.” Lastly, Kerouac’s novel, On the Road, created the outlandish image which Kerouac so fittingly carried. The novel dealt with radical ideals of the time such as homosexuality, race and sex, all topics which completely abhored the idea of the “nifty fifties.” Kerouac denied conformity by choosing to write what genuinely interested him and denying to succumb to the average American’s opinion towards such standards. Kerouac ultimately denied the status quo with the behavior he chose and the ideas he truly believed over what the safe and secure American beliefs were throughout the 1950s.

Citations

Dealt with drug and alcohol abuse during the 1950s

On the Road was denied from publishers for six years due to provocative subject matter

Lost his football scholarship to Columbia University

“The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view” On the Road

"I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion" On the Road

“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.”

"Jack Kerouac." 2014. The Biography.com website. Apr 08 2014 http://www.biography.com/people/jack-kerouac-9363719. "Jack Kerouac." 2014. jackkerouac.com. Apr 072014 http://www.jackkerouac.com


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