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If you are talking about "On the Road" and not "the road" there is a war of sorts between the post WW2 beatnik culture and mainstream society. It holds a great deal of historical significance, showing an underbelly of American culture full of sex, drugs, and lost youth, a culture that received little public attention during the 1940s and '50s. The novel documents a time in America when a post-World War II sensibility began to take over the general consciousness. Conformity and normalcy had become standards of the time after the upheavals of wartime.