cover of book

The View From On the Road: The Rhetorical Vision of Jack Kerouac
by Omar Swartz
Southern Illinois University Press, 2000
Paper: 978-0-8093-2384-5 | Cloth: 978-0-8093-2256-5 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-8233-0
Library of Congress Classification PS3521.E735O537 1999
Dewey Decimal Classification 813.54


Through careful analysis of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Omar Swartz argues that Kerouac’s influence on American society is largely rhetorical. Kerouac’s significance as a cultural icon can be best understood, Swartz asserts, in terms of traditional rhetorical practices and principles.

To Swartz, Kerouac is a rhetor who symbolically reconstructs his world and offers arguments and encouragements for others to follow. Swartz proposes that On the Road constitutes a “rhetorical vision,” a reality-defining discourse suggesting alternative possibilities for growth and change. Swartz asserts that the reader of Kerouac’s On theRoadbecomes capable of responding to the larger, confusing culture in a strategic manner. Kerouac's rhetorical vision of an alternative social and cultural reality contributes to the identity of localized cultures within the United States. 

Nearby on shelf for American literature / Individual authors / 1900-1960: