The View from on the Road: The Rhetorical Vision of Jack Kerouac

By Omar Swartz | Go to book overview

7
Dean as Vision

Neal Cassady was a troubled and deeply disturbed human being who would not outlive the 1960s. However, the vision that he inspired in others, particularly in Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey, would. Their visions of Cassady encouraged large collective identities of individuals who gathered and shared common dreams of self-(re) creation. In other words, Dean as Vision helps establish a general ideological discourse. Such ideological discourse is important to understand from a communication perspective because, as Maurice Charland explains, the "collective identities forming the base of rhetorical appeals themselves depend upon rhetoric. . . . [Social phenomena,] in general, exist only through an ideological discourse that constitutes them" ( 1987, 139).

As argued in part 1 of this study, On the Road is an ideological statement that was a significant force in the creation of a nationwide collective identity. Dennis Sean McNally writes that in 1967 the "tribes of flower-bedecked American pilgrims [that] came together in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park . . . were the direct heirs of On the Road." In addition, McNally notes that Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, and many other influential figures and emblems of the 1960s "acknowledged their roots to a prior Beat Generation" ( 1979, 325). For example, as Ray Manzarek testifies, "If Jack Kerouac had never written On the Road, The Doors would never have existed" (qtd. in Rhino 1990, 20). For this group of people, Dean as Vision best exemplifies the rhetorical appeals of Kerouac's ideology. As Charland elaborates, "Ideology is material existing not in the realm of ideas, but in that of material practices. Ideology is material because subjects enact their ideology and reconstitute their material world in its image" ( 1987, 143).

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The View from on the Road: The Rhetorical Vision of Jack Kerouac
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Part One - Departures 1
  • 1 - Rhetorical Transformations 3
  • 2 - Kerouac in Context 15
  • 3 - Kerouac's Rhetorical Situation 27
  • 4 - Fantasy, Rhetorical Vision, and the Critical Act 43
  • Part Two - View from the Road 59
  • 5 - The Vision of Social Deviance 61
  • 6 - The Vision of Sexuality 74
  • 7 - Dean as Vision 82
  • 8 - Conclusion: Kerouac and Liminality 94
  • Notes 105
  • Bibliography 113
  • Index 125
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