On the Road Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of On the Road

In the beginning of the novel, Sal Paradise, a young writer, is living in New York with his aunt when Dean Moriarty, fresh out of jail, arrives. Sal is fascinated with Dean, a very youthful and jubilant person, and their friendship is marked by three years of restless journeys back and forth across the country. The first year, Sal's dreams of traveling west come true when he joins Dean and more friends in Denver, and then continues west by himself, working as a fieldworker in California for awhile. The following year, Dean comes east to visit Sal again, again ruining Sal's attempt at a stable life, and they again drive west together, with more crazy adventures on the way at Bull Lee's in New Orleans. This time, the friends' journey ends in San Francisco. The winter after that, Sal goes to Dean, and they blaze across the country together in friendly fashion, and Dean settles in New York for awhile. In the spring, Sal goes to Denver alone, but Dean soon joins him and they travel south all the way to Mexico City.
Click here to see the rest of this review

The review of this Book prepared by G. M.

The main character and friends go hitch-hiking across America, trying to find meaning. They go through odd jobs, odd marriages and other odd events. Dena Moriority and Sal Paradise are the two main characters. The book is about the Beat Generation in American after WWII ended.
The review of this Book prepared by Alex Macnarown

On the Road is the story of Sal Paradise who travels cross country to Mexico. Sal is inspired by Dean Moriarty who is a fast talking, womanizing con man. Their adventures lead them to meet many eccentric characters while experimenting with sex and drugs. The novel is biographical in sense since all the characters are actually people involved in Kerouac's life which adds to the story's raw and edgy depiction of an emerging new lifestyle. The novel defined the Beat Generation and inspired many famous musicians, writers, and artists from the sixties to the present.
The review of this Book prepared by Kristy Pastore

This cult classic is surely a must read. Written by Jack Kerouac as a stream of consciousness we live the feelings of the characters as they drive across America the travelling as much a part of the adventure as the arriving. The book is divided into four parts. To summarise, in the first part Sal Paradise the narrator first meets Dean Moriarty and they travel from NY to Denver to meet up with a group of Beat friends to party and then on to San Francisco. In the second part they travel from Virginia to New Orleans to meet up with a friend Old Bull Lee and then travel on to San Francisco. In part three Sal hitches from NY to San Francisco and there meets up with Dean. Here they party to jazz and then travel back to New York. In the fourth part they travel from Denver to Mexico. OK that's the geography out of the way but this book is so much more than just travelling it is about the heavy heady friendship between Sal and Dean, about mad escapades, about drinking and drugs and beautiful descriptions of jazz, about womanising and being a bad husband above all else it is about finally attaining IT! the moment of ecstatic bliss that Dean devotes his life to pursuing. The book that defined the Beat generation.
The review of this Book prepared by John Marcel

Chapter Analysis of On the Road

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Other aspects:    -   Hippies! Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   8 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Texas    -   Northeast    -   Deep South    -   Midwest    -   California

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like On the Road

Jack Kerouac Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian