On The Road is considered to be a seminal post-war work, and its setting and theme make for an engaging read. The novel captures the author Jack Kerouac and his friends’ travels across North America. The author is the main protagonist in the story, and it is set against the backdrop of music, poetic literature, and drug abuse.
The book narrates the story of Sal Paradise who is the alter ego of Jack Kerouac. In the story, he meets a vivacious and energetic young man called Dean Moriarty. The book is divided into five parts and begins with Sal’s maiden trip to San Francisco. His life changes for the better when he meets Dean, and he is struck by his zest for life. Inspired, he leaves to be on the road, with just fifty dollars in his pocket. The book covers the central plot which is the conflict raging in Sal’s mind about love. The second part involves their travels and the differences with their multiple companions.
It is in the third part that the differences between Sal and Dean begin to materialise, and he becomes more and more philosophical and begins to take greater happiness in the simple pleasures of life, like listening to basketball games. The book then traces their story as they go around searching for Sal’s lost and homeless father.