On the Road

Human Motivations in On the Road

Author Jack Kerouac once said, “My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” Kerouac believed his fate consisted of much more than bad luck and poor decision making and attributed it to the naturally occurring, subconscious processes of his mind. In his novel On the Road, Kerouac writes about this phenomena of internal concepts that drive human beings to act the way they do, and in this specific case, live. Kerouac uses On the Road to tell tales of the journey from the earlier years of his life. Kerouac portrays himself as alter-ego Sal Paradise and influential friend Neal Cassady as Dean Moriarty. Although Kerouac cannot put what Sal and Dean are pursuing into a single word or phrase besides calling it IT, the essence of their story helps define what they are in search of. Sal and Dean each have their own distinct disposition and perspective, but are united by their internal desires. The characters in Kerouac’s novel On The Road portray the power of human motivations as they try to fulfill their personal needs according to Maslow’s Hierarchy.

Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty were strongly guided by human motivations that provided incentive and prompted the initial action of their...

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