Gatsby And On The Road

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The Lost Generation of the 1920s and The Beat Movement of the 1950s were literary movements that sprung from American post-war disillusionment. Both of these groups tested literary convention and were considered bohemian because of their rejection of what they considered to be “inauthentic and prepackaged” lives (Huddleston 1). The similarity between these two movements is reflected in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, texts which both explore the unattainability of the American Dream. The novel’s heroes, Jay Gatsby and Dean Moriarty, serve as vessels for this exploration and thus there are key similarities between the portrayals of the two characters. However, while Fitzgerald portrays Gatsby as inauthentic …show more content…
In the novel 's opening chapter, Sal describes Dean as “the holy con-man with the shining mind” (Kerouac 11). This description casts Dean as manipulative and cunning whilst also evoking images of someone who is at the epitome of humankind and who is to be admired. Sal goes on to describe behaviour that the reader recognises as immoral, “his innumerable girls and sex-parties and pornographic pictures, his heroes, heroines, adventures” (11). Kerouac provides the reader with outsider perspectives of Dean to solidify his immorality when Roland Major chastises Dean for his “sleeping with three girls at the same time” (46). Sal notes at this point: “I felt sheepish rushing off with Dean - Major insisted he was a moron and a fool. Of course he wasn’t, and I wanted to prove it to everybody somehow” (47). This indicates that Sal possesses an unfounded desire to preserve the heroic image of Dean that he has in his mind, despite knowing that he has his shortcomings as a person. In the novel 's final part, when Dean abandons Sal in Mexico City, even though he is ill, Sal still defends his friend:
When I got better I realized what a rat he was, but then I had to understand the impossible complexity of his life, how he had to leave me there, sick, to get on with his wives and woes. "Okay, old Dean, I’ll say nothing.
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"I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business. But I 'm not in either one now." (Fitzgerald 91)
Nick does not respond negatively to the blatant lie he has been told, instead he continues to humour Gatsby’s extravagant exhibition of his property to Daisy.
When it is revealed later that Jay Gatsby is really James Gatz and that everything that has been revealed thus far about his past was a lie, Nick remains loyal in his admiration. The conclusion of The Great Gatsby leaves Nick reflecting sadly on Gatsby’s life, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us” (Fitzgerald last page). The use of positive diction here leaves the reader with the understanding that despite everything, Nick still admires Gatsby.

Dean Moriarty serves as the personification of the futility of the American Dream explored in On The Roads. The novel encapsulates and consequently undermines what it means to be American through the character of Dean Moriarty (Skinazi 91). Dean can be considered an all-American character. A sense of ownership of the country is imparted through his speech “we know America, we’re at home; I can go anywhere in America and get what I want because it’s the same in every corner, I know the people, I know what they do” (Kerouac 115). However, Dean rejects conventional ideals of the American dream, Sal notes upon first meeting

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