Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

George Fragopoulos

Subject Categories

American Literature

Keywords

Film, Fame, Beats, Kerouac

Abstract

This thesis traces the legacy and fame of Jack Kerouac from his lifetime up until current day. Since his death, pop-culture has glorified and stereotyped Kerouac to the point where he is an easily digestible concept of counterculture and coolness. This speaks to what our society craves--celebrities boiled down into clickbait titles and single-faceted understandings. Amidst chaos, who can blame us? But when we look at the real Kerouac, who the biographies and archival research say he is, we see someone much more complex than that. And, through writing autobiographical fiction, he introduced that complexity and messiness to his own generation. His generation manufactured a utopia of white picket fences while coping with the chaotic aftermath of two world wars. They craved uniformity; but Kerouac’s prescience told him to show them his messiness--break the stigma so they, too, could feel comfortable acknowledging their own flaws. Kerouac and the Beat Movement is what that era needed.

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