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He proceeds to travel south, down the West Coast of America, staying in San Francisco, on into Mexico where he falls in with his buddies, back north to New York, before a ships voyage to Tangiers that seemed to be the drugs capital of the world, before a knackered Duluoz finally takes in Paris and London albeit briefly.
Heading back to the States he embarks on a trip with his mother through Florida, Texas, the tip of Mexico and California again. This was him at his most affecting as a writer. Many people he runs into, whether those he knows or his proper friends who feature regularly seem to live a constant stream of reading, writing, drinking, smoking, some screwing with prostitutes and drug taking. It sounds like a blast them having the time of their lives, but for the reader there is sometimes so much crammed in to short passages it's hard to keep up on what's what.
There is a little misogyny, and a few below the belt occurrences, but for a book of this nature that's to be expected.
I am not suddenly going to turn into a big admirer of kerouac's work. In those two novels, his poetics revolves instead around notions of kinship and sentimentality towards smaller animals, transforming the manly ethos and the inhospitable wilderness of adventure stories of the times into a domestic world of mutual harmony and hospitality.
Virgin lands and unspoiled nature peopled only by wild animals and wild Indians offered American men a series of tests and challenges that required mental and physical strength. Whereas women were bound to the domestic space of home and the social function of nurture, men were associated with the adventurous life on the Frontier.
American fiction provides evidence of a long-lasting relationship between men and wild animals in the American imagination, most notably through what David Leverenz calls the beast-man motif.
Interestingly enough, American authors often described their experience of the land in essentially feminine terms, projecting maternal or sexual fantasies onto the wilderness that surrounded their male protagonists. For a long time, [the American male] seemed utterly confident in his manhood, sure of his masculine role in society, easy and definite in his sense of sexual identity. The frontiersmen of James Fenimore Cooper, for example, never had any concern about masculinity; they were men, and it did not occur to them to think twice about it.
Even well into the 20 th century, the heroes of Dreiser, of Fitzgerald, of Hemingway remain men. But one begins to detect a new theme emerging in some of these authors, especially in Hemingway: And by mid-century, the male role had plainly lost its rugged clarity of outline.
Schlesinger, The roles of male and female are increasingly merged in the American household. The American man is found as never before as a substitute for wife and mother—changing diapers, washing dishes, cooking meals, and performing a whole series of what once were considered female duties.
The American woman meanwhile takes over more and more of the big decisions, controlling them indirectly when she cannot do so directly. Outside the home, one sees a similar blurring of function.
The hairy-chested outdoorsmen portrayed in those compensatory fantasies of virility travelled the entire world in quest for danger and for the excitement of their many male readers, next to reports about various sex-related topics. He often expressed a desire to belong to this tradition of manly writers who went into the wild and struggled with natural dangers, men like Ernest Hemingway or Jack London whom he idealized as real men and real writers.
While Kerouac and his fellow Beats appear first and foremost as a group of writers dealing mostly with city life and road adventures, recent studies have examined the importance of the theme of nature and wilderness in their writings. Man in the Beginning was a proud animal who went out and killed his game and dragged his woman to a cave and ate with her, and performed the sticky art of love on her, and slept with her, and awoke in the morning, cold and dreary in the prehistoric pink of primeval dawn.
Today, he shells out five bucks for some grocery food, takes it home to a haughty, commandeering wife, meekly performs the sticky art of love on her at night in a soft willowy bed, and wakes up in the cold and dismal pink of civilized dawn. The difference? Man is now a civilized animal , but he is no longer a proud animal.
What will my books be about this summer?
They had become captives, chained as they were to their home through their role as family men and softened by the civilizing effects of a feminized culture. Though it represents a first way out in On the Road , the road itself seems to have become feminized by the end of the decade.
For Kerouac, men had been tamed by women, whom he presented as civilizing agents who had robbed men of their wild nature and subdued their primitive energy. In order to revitalize American masculinity, he thus set out to reopen in the American imagination and in literary fiction a homosocial space where men could become the wild animals they once were. He grew up among animals in the wild forests of the Northwest, is well versed in ornithology and knows many first-hand stories about animal encounters by real outdoorsmen.
Everything in him evokes animality: On his way down, Ray then follows traces of a deer trail, alone in the woods looking for tracks and excrement, as if his animal instincts and primitive senses had been aroused by his coming into contact with the wildlife around him:.
I was a hundred yards from the other boys and walking alone, […] along the little black cruds of a deer trail through the rock, no call to think or look ahead or worry, just follow the little balls of deer crud with your eyes cast down and enjoy life.
I followed my deer trail so assiduously I was by myself going along ridges and down across creek bottoms completely out of sight […] but I trusted the instinct of my sweet little millennial deer and true enough, just as it was getting dark their ancient trail took me right to the edges of the familiar shallow creek where they stopped to drink for the last five thousand years.
Simultaneously, he reterritorializes a heroic masculine identity, that of the adventurous frontiersmen, sometimes suggesting a regression into animality and the conquest of a virgin land. He decides for fun to push a boulder off a meter cliff as if to hold himself company, but the harsh sound of the rock splitting in two reinforces his sense of solitude: Faced only with an uncanny mineral world of rock, water, clouds and snow that offers neither challenge nor company, the protagonist is left looking sadly at his own reflection.
American wildlife is not considered as a hostile environment offering a series of challenges in which men can assert their masculinity, but as an eternal Garden of Eden, a homosocial world in which Eve has not yet set foot. In a revival of the mid th century romantic imagination of Transcendentalist writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, the protagonists are shown as men of feelings.
Smaller, less dangerous and less considered animals come to the forefront in a bestiary that is essentially composed of bugs, insects, gnats, mice, rats and other rodents that either sting him or eat his food, without any resentment on his part.
Duluoz develops a strong connection with those few animals that offer him company in this solitary life, peppering his narrative with vignettes of those neighbors of his. Desolation angels , Coward-McCann. Desolation angels Publish date unknown, Putnam.
History Created April 28, 7 revisions Download catalog record: Libraries near you: WorldCat Library. Desolation angels , Riverhead Books in English - 1st Riverhead ed. Desolation angels , Flamingo in English. Desolation angels , Paladin in English. Desolation angels , Perigee Book in English. Desolation angels , Capricorn Books in English.
Desolation angels , Panther in English. Desolation angels , Coward-McCann in English.