This is not an exit: the road narrative in contemporary American literature and film
Talbot, Jill L.
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Jack Kerouac's On the Road serves as the prototype for the road narrative and as a pivotal novel in the transition from modernism to postmodernism. Kerouac's novel is recognized as the road narrative that brought formal recognition of the cultural ritual and established the genre's distinctive features. In the four decades that followed On the load's publication in 1957, authors including Cormac McCarthy, David Seals, Don DeLillo, Cathryn Alpert, and Stephen Wright repeated and varied Kerouac's road pattern through modification and innovation. The non-fiction road narratives offer a tri-cultural presentation of national identity with works by John Steinbeck, William Least Heat-Moon (Native American), and John A. Williams (African American). In addition, Steinbeck's work serves as the foundation for the theory of internal reality, a paradigm for examining the individual's perception of the journey in all of the road narratives. Together, these road narratives, both fictional and non-fiction, offer various perspectives on national and cultural identity, and through a postmodern progression, the novels eventually deconstruct the quintessential road narrative. On the Road. As a coda to the study of the prose road narrative, the study also examines film's installments to the road narrative, focusing on Dennis Hopper's Easy Rider as the prototype for the contemporary cinematic road film which emphasizes marginalized cultures. Subsequent films examined in the study establish Easy Rider's influence as the film that continues to serve as the model for cinematic road narratives through allusion and intertextuality.