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Dharma Bums

In the past few weeks, I've been reading The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. I finally finished on Sunday afternoon, just before a lovely nap.

Last night, a friend didn't know of/couldn't pronounce Kerouac, who came up unbidden in our conversation. One girl commented that On the Road felt decidedly masculine to her. As I thought about it, I would say the same thing about TDB. It's a man-boy's mystic philosophic/religious meanderings. I wanted insight into the narrator's present perspective - he makes it clear that he is reminiscing, and many of his thoughts/attitudes on life have changed...but we never find out what or how. At first, I didn't think it was the best intro to The Beat Poets, but now I'm not sure. I don't know if I like them all that much. (TBD at a later date)


That said, there are some great quotes:

Colleges being nothing but grooming schools for the middle-class non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of well-to-do houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while the Japhies of the world go prowling in the wilderness to hear the voice crying in the wilderness, to find the ecstasy of the stars, to find the mysterious secret of the origin of faceless wonderless crapulous civilization.
(as if the word "crapulous" existed in 1958!!!)

I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling. Ecstasy, even, I felt, with flashes of sudden remembrance, and feeling sweaty and drowsy I felt like sleeping and dreaming in the grass.

That is precisely how I feel in the woods.

Comments

Jay Brock said…
Alright Beth, if you love the woods, you MUST MUST MUST read "Walden; or, Life in the Woods" by Henry David Thoreau. It took me 6 months to read, I savoured every page.
Kirsten said…
I like this.

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