Abstract

Kerouac's fiction echoes the discourse of delinquency that pervaded US social science in the 1950s. Like this discourse, Kerouac's work was an anxious inquiry into the psychological and cultural reasons behind certain Americans' failure to adapt to the United States' class structure. In texts like On the Road, Maggie Cassidy, and Dr. Sax, his autobiographical protagonists are alienated from the cultural attitudes of both the traditional working and new middle class. Prefiguring 1960s poverty theory, Kerouac depicts this in-between class status as the consequence of a deviant work ethic, passed on from inadequate fathers to their delinquent sons.

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