Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's on the Road

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  • Topic: On the Road, Neal Cassady, Dean Moriarty
  • Pages : 3 (942 words )
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  • Published : May 3, 2011
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In Jack Kerouac’s novel, On The Road, main protagonist Dean Moriarty symbolizes an "almost" immortal flame of youth that embodies the rebellious generation of uncertainty that describes 1950s Beat culture. Desirable of everything at the same time, from his numerable fixations with drugs, his incalculable romantic entanglements with women, or his superficial preoccupation to be seen as an intellectual, we get to know Dean's liberating and pioneering personality as the "Holy Goof" as well as an apparent figure of Beat culture. Though it is not until a series of passages at the commencement of the novel that the "crucifixion" of Dean Moriarty's youth takes place, forcing upon him a revelation; forcing him to relinquish his naive, rebellious ways into a life of real uncertainties and real problems.

In one of these passages, at what first seems to be a light hearted conversation between Dean and Sal in a restaurant bathroom, soon evidently becomes a foreshadowing of Dean's diminishing youth: "We were both exhausted and dirty…I was at a urinal blocking Dean's way… and said to Dean, “Dig this trick.” “Yes, man,” he said, washing his hands at the sink, “it’s a very good trick but awful on your kidneys because you’re getting a little older now every time you do this eventually years of misery in your old age, awful kidney miseries for the days when you sits in the parks.” It made me mad. “Who’s old? I’m not much older than you are!” “I wasn’t saying that, man!”

"Ah,” I said, “you’re always making cracks about my age. I'm no old fag, you don't have to warn me about my kidneys"…I said to cap my anger, "And I don’t want to hear any more of it.” And suddenly Dean’s eye grew tearful and he got up and left…Dean stood outside the restaurant for exactly five minutes… “Well,” I said, “what were you doing out there?…Go ahead tell me…” “I was crying,” said Dean.

“Ah hell, you never cry.”
"You say that? Why do you think I don’t cry?”
“You don’t die enough to cry.”...
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