1.      THE WHEN, THE WHERE AND THE WHO-THE CULTURAL AND THE SOCIAL CONTEXT- As it happens, when Jack Kerouac finally told the story of his time on the road, not much was read into it, since the spirit of his generation was still very present and although it was considered an interesting piece, the general audience was not able to take a step back to see the bigger picture of the sentiment that was incorporated in this semi-autobiographical novel. This novel first saw the light of day in 1957 and the forthcoming decade was socially and culturally built on a rather similar spiritus movens that was encompassed in works of the authors such as Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs and Carr. The true cultural shift didn’t happen up until the early ’70 when the core of the alternative subcultures started going through the process of glamourization.  The period when the Beats walked the Earth was substantially different than anything that has succeeded it in terms of aesthetics, morals, social and cultural norms, worldviews on love, drugs, money, sex or friendship. Many authors and critics have failed in the endeavour to reduce or explain the Beats’ moral and social systems in terms of what would be considered reasonable in the contemporary perspective on such things. This novel, alongside with the generation of which it is a part of, simply must be understood in the social context in which it belongs. In this paper, I will concentrate on the novel ‘On the Road’, although almost every Kerouac’s novel depicts his world and relationships in a similar light. My goal will not be revising the plot and the wording in the novel, but to give a wholesome analysis of the underlying spirit of the time. Since this is his epitomical and certainly the most substantial work, in my view, it can serve as the archetype model of his generation’s ethos. Kerouac’s writing style and approach to the matter appear to be very straightforward and candid, without any visible signs of censorship, considering it was an age of cultural liberation, resulting in truly genuine relationships between people, for better or for worse. As the legend has it, Kerouac himself had spent a period of 20 days writing this book on a single roll of paper, financially broke but certainly inspired.In my opinion, ‘On the Road’ is to be understood as a book of dichotomies. Behind the story, which is written rather plainly, the author introduces many contrasts as the layers of the  society he has lived in; the notions of the road and the home, the passive and the active, the mind and the emotion, the narrator and the doer, the poet and the worker, the driver and the passenger. These dichotomies are perfectly exemplified in a peculiar relationship between the protagonist, Sal Paradise (Kerouac) and his best friend Dean Moriarty (Neal Cassady). I intend to examine both characters and I will try to shed some light on their personal motivations, life choices, interpersonal relationships and general worldviews. Both characters conform to certain stereotypes and seem to play two very distinct roles in Kerouac’s mind, even though they belong to the same world. Their friendship, however, is to be understood in a completely unorthodox manner; it is not a friendship that is grounded on mutual trust and reliability – it is one based on the shared aspirations and awe of the world.2.      THE SENTIMENT OF A BEATNIK-MYSTICISM AND INTUITIONISM, OPPIATES AND SEX- Benzedrine, a.k.a. benny, as Kerouac used to call it, fully ‘conquered’ the West Coast of the USA at the very end of ’40, causing the generation of heroine users, that blissfully spent their lives in a narcotic haze, to suddenly start going to the clubs where ‘negros’ played jazz and wander into the night downing bottles of whiskey, talking about philosophy, theology, art and culture. Somewhere in that time, a certain sentiment of the generation was born, a way of understanding the world through mystic awe and the aesthetics of astonishment and redemption. This behaviour and the way of thinking became a wide-spread cultural phenomenon that became a vital part of the Beat culture. This notion of a newly found lifeforce of the generation was elaborated by O. Swartz in his paper „The Vision of Social Deviance”;„That “something big” was a new life, a life that could only be appreciated once people understood that the old life was “dead,” at least symbolically. People may have felt that something was wrong with American culture, as discontent existed prior to its naming in On the Road. Yet the situation had not been named, at least for middle-class white America, as Kerouac named it by positioning the life that his book documents against the death and the cultural void present and transcended in the opening paragraph of ‘On the Road’.” (Swartz, 171)A vital part of the Beat culture was also the music, more specifically, jazz. During the ’40, the most prominent genre of jazz that was played in the clubs was bebop. It was a perfect musical counterpart of the Beat culture; it was aggressive, active and driving. It later developed into a subgenre called hard bop that started incorporating elements of gospel and rhythm and blues, conforming to the newfound development of the ethos of the audience. The poetry also took a radical turn, now incorporating drug references, unorthodox sexual behaviour and other taboos. This is almost perfectly exemplified in A. Ginsberg’s poem “Howl”. Ginsberg was a part of the same clique as Kerouac and the two considered each other close friends. The character of Carlo Marx from ‘On the Road’ is actually based on Ginsberg himself,   and even the literary influence between the two friends becomes obvious as one compares the motifs and the flow of their work. Finally, the last major focal point of the Beat culture and interests is sex. Throughout the novel, sex is discussed, performed, glorified and satirized. It is an omnipresent force of their universe and it is certainly not romanticized, but it often symbolized the nature of human instincts and urges. In some cases, it even becomes a cornerstone of the mystical ecstasy, as it was a case with Sal and Terry (Kerouac, 95). It was a culture of very liberal sexuality that didn’t recognize traditional convictions and instead of finding traditional beauty in its form and cause, it found beauty in the mere action and redemption. It was a tool for sensation.3.      THE MARTYR AND THE PRODIGY OF THE BEAT GENERATIONSAL PARADISE AND DEAN MORIARTY All the aforementioned dichotomies, as I discussed, are united in the friendship of Sal Paradise and Neal Cassady. They are the archetypical representatives of this novel and most of the characters in the novel can be understood through their respective worldviews, motivations and actions. Sharing a lot of interests and admirations for one another, they are consumed by the spirit of their time, being completely lost in the moment. However, the two friends are very different characters at their very core. Kerouac uses Dean’s character to represent the ideal of the Beat generation. He is, in his nature, a truly reckless, impulsive, active, and lively character. He never exhibits any signs of being a common, normal person. Wanting everything at once, he never shows any signs of established social inhibitions while being a true non-conformist at all cost. He is addicted to love, sex, drugs, never staying in one place, always living in the moment ahead of the one he’s in. As Kerouac put it in his description of Dean’s character and his clique,”… the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”” (Kerouac, 7)He is the personification of the generation, and hence the very centre of this novel. Sal is, in fact, very open about his admiration for Dean, and at times, even a bit envious of his unprecedented drunkenness with life. He is the doer, the lover, the prodigy, the junkie, always behind the wheel – always driving, never driven. Sal Paradise, on the other hand, is an un-beatnik. At the beginning of the novel, he has just got a divorce and went through a tough illness. His old life ended and he was adamant about beginning a new one. He chose a life on the road not because of his nature and ambitions, but because of his striving for the absolution from his old self. He is the passive one – the narrator and the poet. His choice to go on the road was not to find, but to lose himself and that is why he is amazed by Dean’s frantic lunacy and desire.”In a sense, Sal’s growth as an adult can be measured through his responses to Dean and in the changing aspects of their relationship. Sal moves from idolatry to pity, from a breathless, childlike worship of Dean as alternately Saint and Father, to a realization of Dean’s own tortured humanity, marked by Sal’s attempt to be brother, then Father, to his friend, sensitive to Dean’s needs without melodrama, facing responsibility and decision, allowing himself to feel blame and love, yet, eventually, for the sake of his own soul, rejecting, deliberately and sadly, his lost, perpetually circling friend.” (C.G. Vopat, 16-17)  4. THE ROAD BACK ‘HOME’ At the end of the novel, Kerouac is returning home from the road, leaving Dean behind, looking at him as he walks away in the rearview mirror of the car. This is an obvious allusion towards the fact that Sal is leaving the road behind him – he never really found himself, but as I have discussed earlier, he never really intended to. So, I arrive at the final point I want to emphasize in this analysis; the Beat generation never strived for arriving at their goal, since there was no goal, to begin with. In my opinion, Kerouac saw both of them in himself in a way, as two opposing driving forces inside him that were never going to reconcile, so as Sal’s and Dean’s friendship was never going to last, they sure made it count.           BIBLIOGRAPHY:(1)   Kerouac, J., 1997, On the Road, Viking Penguin, New York(2)   Swartz, O., 2004, The Vision of Social Deviance, Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations – Jack Kerouac – On the Road, Broomall, PA(3)   C.G. Vopat, 2004, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road: A Re-evaluation, Bloom’s Modern Critical Interpretations – Jack Kerouac – On the Road, Broomall, PA