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Kerouac A Failure in his own eyes
Kerouac: A Failure in His Own Eyes
Jack Kerouac was the spark that started the flame of the Beat Generation though, through his own eyes, he felt like a failure. Jack keyed the term ‘beat’ generation in a conversation with John Clellon Holmes, another of the beat generation poets, in 1948 (). The Beat Generation might not have happened without the help of Jack. What formed him into the blunt writer that he was, was his loving family, the death of his brother, movies, college, and newfound friends.
Jack Kerouac, baptized Jean Louis Lebris de Kerouac, was born to Lou and Gabrielle Ange L’Evesque on March 12, 1992 in Lowell, Massachusetts. Jack had two older siblings: brother Gerard, five years older than [whom he looked up to], and sister Caroline or Nin who was three years older. The whole family spoke French in the house due to Gabrielle’s French-Canadian decent and this was the children’s first language (Charters 24). When Jack was four years old, Gerard died of Rheumatic fever leaving little Jack shocked, and scared (Gifford 5). Jack’s mother often spoke of Gerard as a saint after death implying to Jack in his mind that he was not. "Jack worshipped him and emulated him and was entirely bereft after his death." (5). The whole community mourned for Gerard because he was such a model student, and religious boy. But soon Nin, eight, and Jack, five, were off to the movies every day where they could watch for free because their father printed the programs for the theater. These movies were the spark that started the flame for an imagination that never quit.
Jack grew older throughout the years and soon college time came along. He only played varsity football in his senior year but it was enough to have scouts notice him. Jack was offered scholarships at both Columbia and Boston College. His father wanted Jack to go to Boston because people at his job where pushing for his son to go there. As usual though, Jack followed his mother’s advice and chose Columbia where he truly wanted to go, New York City (Charters 30). Before Jack could go to Columbia though he had to go to Horace Mann Prep School for a year. For the most part he got good grades but slacked off and failed two of his classes which he had to attend summer school for. Jack did not like Horace Mann, he felt out of place, poor among the rich kids (Tytell 56). Finally, he was off to Columbia where he played football well but did not like the coach. A downfall in football that became boost for Jack’s writing career was when he broke his leg his freshman year. He spent more of his time reading since it was not consumed by football as it had been before. When he came back after his injury things had changed for Jack, his priorities were no longer football but instead, writing. After one particularly excruciating practice though, he had enough and walked off the field, only to return after Coach Little asked him to come back. Jack was starting a trend for himself, getting bored with things and leaving them as he did with college and football. He soon dropped out of Columbia against his parents will and decided to pursue writing.
Jack became a nomad after dropping out of college, not staying in one place for long but always coming back to his home. Jack decided that the best way to get his life back on track after dropping out of college was to go into the Navy, or so his parents pressured him to do. But Jack, a nonconformist to military ways, walked out of training one day. Held under observation in a military hospital he was given a honorable discharge for what was labeled "indifferent character" (Gifford 32). As Douglas Brinkley said after being discharged, "Thus began the restless wandering that would characterize both his legacy and his life (2). His father, Leo, found him a job as a gas attendant hoping it w
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