On the Road
Jack Kerouac's Fear of Women and Lust
In Jack Kerouac's novels and poetry he is always searching for something to believe in, be it himself, God, or something else. Surprisingly, he manages to also simultaneously be constantly running away. Fear of responsibility and conformity is present in the majority of his works; this is the reason for his elusiveness, and the constant desire and search for a path far removed from the traditional ho-hum home-life leads him to Buddhism, which was then a novel concept in America. Kerouac's newfound beliefs lead him to be zealously against lust, because it leads to the formation of karma: lust leads to birth, which leads to suffering, which leads to death, which leads to the continuation of the cycle.
In Dharma Bums, Ray Smith (Kerouac's pseudonym for himself) had "gone through an entire year of celibacy based on [his] feeling that lust was the direct cause of . . . suffering and death." He even claimed to have "come to a point where [he] regarded lust as offensive and even cruel." Due to the "absence of active lust," Smith had a "new peaceful life that [he] was enjoying a great deal" (Kerouac Dharma Bums, 29). Robert A. Hipkiss addresses this when he states Kerouac's belief...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 753 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4787 literature essays, 1495 sample college application essays, 189 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in