Thursday, March 24, 2011

Foreseen On the Road

Monumental events in history has us look, perhaps unconsciously, for clues to its eventuality in previous deeds.

When something important happens we sometimes find precursors or warnings that we previously had not noticed. The falling of the world trade center is such an event that cause people to cite previous 'signs'. However, these signs are likely nothing more than happenstance but nonetheless make us take pause and wonder. Jack Kerouac's iconic novel On the Road is such a source for a sign to 9/11. The book was published in 1957 and tells the tale of a young man's exploration of the wild America. On the last page of the second chapter, in the second section, one of the book's characters wraps a scarf around his ears on a cold New York night. The character, Dean, had said "we were a band of Arabs coming in to blow up New York".

Jack Kerouac
The connection between Kerouac's words and what would happen 40 plus years has been pointed out by others, but I had not realized this until I my recent rereading of On the Road. While this is nothing more than happenstance, it is still interesting to take Kerouac's writing as a reflection of American thinking on the subject of the Orientalist (ala Edward Said) within the framework of 1950's American youth counter-culture.

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