Individualism In On The Road

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Sal was accompanied by Dean on the road with feelings of meaninglessness and desperation. At the beginning of the traveling he was frustrated by the given location: “And all I could say was, ‘Well, what the hell are we doing in Denver?’” (ibid.: 45). No sooner did Sal arrive at a given destination he desired to leave again, but Dean prefers travelling all around the United States without any exact destination. “It was a completely set of circumstances that made Dean come and similarly I went off with him for no reason” (ibid.: 116). However, the narrator desired an end to all the chaos, unlike Dean. Then, Sal began to realize the disadvantages of such sustained motion. “I hated to leave, my stay had lasted sixty-odd hours. With frantic Dean…show more content…
Throughout the novel, the desire for adventure and desire for freedom are the main themes. “One common view of Beat writing was a collective attempt to struggle free from the cultural stasis of mid-1950s, but another view aligns it more closely with new emphasis on individualism. (…) It is perhaps no surprise that in On the Road uses the car to symbolize this resurgence of individual freedom” (Halliwell 78). The importance of individualism does not characterize the family-oriented post-war America. Thus, their behavior opposes the patterns of value orientation of this period and they represent unique individualities which refused to follow the conventional behavior of this particular society. “Visiting Carlo Marx, in Long Island, Dean and Sal were inquired about his destination, but Carlo Marx addressed America as a whole: “What is the meaning of this voyage to New York? What kind of sordid business are you on now? I mean, man, whither goest thou? Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?” (119). Indeed, they are living with a nihilistic attitude towards life, but they never find the meaning of life. It means that nothing has any essential importance and the life lacks purpose. These ideas came from a mid-19-century German philosopher, Friedrick Nietzsche who declared that: “God is dead, God remains dead. And we have killed him”. It means that the humankind in the modern world has lost his faith in God, organizing the world around other value systems. It became the basis of modernism, all values are revalued by the philosopher, destroying the morality of Christian and Jewish cultures. God never existed, it was a human creation to acquire power and to maintain the society between strict ethical and legal norms. According to Nietzsche, human beings must be their own masters and decide what is necessary. However, this philosophy results in the loss of community and the appearance of
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