Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
On the Road: Introduction
On the Road: Plot Summary
On the Road: Detailed Summary & Analysis
On the Road: Themes
On the Road: Quotes
On the Road: Characters
On the Road: Symbols
On the Road: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Jack Kerouac
Historical Context of On the Road
Other Books Related to On the Road
- Full Title: On The Road
- When Written: Late 1940s to 1951
- Where Written: New York City
- When Published: 1957
- Literary Period: The Beat Movement
- Genre: Novel
- Setting: Various locations across the United States (especially New York, Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, Virginia, New Orleans, Los Angeles), Mexico.
- Climax: In Part Four, Sal travels with Dean to Mexico on one last crazy trip. Dean abandons Sal while Sal he is sick with a fever.
- Antagonist: There is no one antagonist throughout the entire novel. At times, the police are the antagonists for Sal, Dean, and their friends.
Extra Credit for On the Road
On The Scroll. While Kerouac spent much time brainstorming and planning ideas for On The Road, when he finally sat down to write the novel, he wrote the whole thing in three weeks on one long, continuous scroll he made by attaching sheets of typewriter paper. The long, unpunctuated, unedited scroll survives to this day, and a transcribed version of this original draft of the novel was even published in 2007.