Comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences of, "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac & "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. " On the Road" is a unique American novel of it's time and so is Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"On the Road" by Jack Kerouac symbolizes for many, an entire generation of disaffected young Americans of the 1950's. At the time it was written America was undergoing drastic changes and a sense of void brought on by the Cold War, and as such created a feeling of dislocation for many. Many Americans experienced a sense of purposelessness and disillusionment. The main character Sal Paradise represented the disillusioned Americans at that time. Much of the novel is spent 'on the road" in a car.
Dean Moriarty, the other main character in the novel, represented the "rebel" in most Americans during the 40's and 50's. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain was written around 1885 is also a novel on American interactions and their perspectives on various critical issues that affected at that period of their lives. Written after civil war, it tells the story of Huckleberry Finn who was in search of his own identity. The book focuses on life in the Mississippi, on slavery and people's view of slavery at that time. At the start of "On the Road" like "Huckleberry Finn" I thought was not going anywhere.
Sal's life in "On the Road" seemed meaningless, and in "Huck Finn" Huck was always restless about his life. Both books written in the first person by male characters tells the story of loyalty, friendships, and lessons learned on their journey. The Mississippi River was the main getaway in "Huckleberry Finn" with often times a raft as the main mode of transportation, while in "On the Road" an automobile was the main mode of transportation on the road. There were numerous characters in both novels and scenes that were often, I felt, not really necessary, but yet there at the end of them, there were some thing new learnt about the main characters. Jack Kerouac's writing is at times smooth and yet at times hard to hold on to. His description of Sal Paradise's road trip makes you feel as if you are on it with his descriptions of the American and Mexican landscape.
Similarly with Mark Twain's description of the many adventures of Huck Finn down (up? ) the Mississippi. Twain's writing is also at times hard to hold on to, but at the same time his descriptive writing of Huck's escapades made it almost "life-like." (Both books had no solid plots) There was a great questions / focus on the friendship between Huck Finn and Jim the runaway slave and between Sal and Dean. Questions will arise on their loyalty to each other and often the test of their true friendship was put to test. In "On the Road" which was written during the beat generation, seemed to have only one focused idea - "Life." Everyone in the novel was in search of something - nothing material - but more of a spiritual or higher atonement - a meaning for everything.
The language / words use in both novels were a bit strange at times, but were appropriate at the time both novels were written. For eg. words like " dig" and "make it with" were used frequently in "On the road" while the word "nigger" was frequently and casually used in "Huckleberry Finn." At first it was a bit strange to take it in, but then understood that it was normal to use 'nigger' at the time Huck Finn was written as there was nothing 'politically incorrect" about that. This was during the time of slavery and that was what slaves were called.
There was a sense of liberation / freedom in both novels. The ability to just take off and be free, even if you were in search of your freedom is always appealing to mere humans.