Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac was a poet who focused on the forgotten people of the world.

Wherever he traveled he found the places nobody wanted to find and turned the
un-pretty into magnificent poetry. Kerouac used the people no one wanted to
remember and turned them into poetic works of art. Jack Kerouacís life was
filled with adventure and self-destruction. Born on March 12, 1922, Kerouac grew
up in the poor city of Lowell, Massachusetts. His life was tormented with
poverty and alcoholism, first by his father, then he himself was afflicted by
the deadly disease. At the age of 8, Kerouac lost his brother, Gerard to typhoid
fever. Kerouac traveled hitchhike style across the country. In 1943, Kerouac was
a kitchen boy on a US Navy patrol boat. He enlisted in the Navy as a reaction to

Pearl Harbor; he quickly got sick of the Army life and war, but was highly
amused by the bottle, which was deemed the sailorís eternal comfort. In 1957,

Kerouacís book, On the Road was published. "It is disturbing and powerful,
but not over done, bursting with juvenile grace, distraught depravity, serious
questions and severe hangovers, cheap philosophy and smoking jalopies." (Ann

Charters.) Sadly after his bought with alcoholism he lost his life on October

21, 1969, in St. Petersburg Florida. From the beginning of his life, Jack

Kerouac was interested in writing. Kerouacís first inspiration was the radio
show, "The Shadow." Later in life he would model himself after Thomas Wolfe.

In high school Kerouac was a star football player and got a scholarship to

Columbia University to play on the football team. His family followed him to

Queens New York and eventually Kerouac dropped out of college, shortly after his
father had lost his business. After disappointing the father who has so recently
disappointed him, his father sunk into an alcoholic depression. Kerouac then
entered the military. When he wasnít sailing he would hang out with people his
parents did not like, "outcast" Columbia students, Allen Ginsberg and Lucien

Carr, an older businessman, William S. Burroughs, and a street cowboy from

Denver Colorado, Neal Cassidy. Jack Kerouac started the Beat Generation, he
penned the name, and he was one of the Beat poets/writers, along with Allen

Ginsberg. When On the Road was published, Kerouac had found a new status as a
celebrity. His sudden celebrity status was probably one of the worst things that
could have happened to him, because his moral and spiritual decline in the next
few years was shocking. To live up to the wild image he gave himself in On the

Road, Kerouac developed a detrimental drinking habit that changed his natural
brightness and aged him prematurely. Kerouac was incredibly unhappy with his new
life as a celebrity. His life ended October 21, 1969 at the age of 47. Jack

Kerouacís poems, Women, Hymn, and HitchHiker, are all represented by the theme
that Kerouac wrote about the forgotten people. The poem Women, deals with

Kerouacís theme of writing about the unnoticed. This is a very simple example.

Kerouac is acknowledging that women are great, but he is also observing how the
woman walks, very motion filled movements. The last stanza, "A handkerchief in
the / Wind," is describing how the women swings when she walks, very softly
like a handkerchief being moved in the wind. In the poem Hymn, Kerouac watches
how the people of Brooklyn react to the ice that God created. He noticed how
people were slipping on the ice, but not once, twice, probably in close
proximity to each other. He also noticed in the line, "two different people /
came over, goin to work, / so earnest and tryful" that people were trying so
hard to avoid slipping on ice, and when they did slip, they had trouble
regaining their balance. The second part of the poem, Kerouac is speaking of
what God taught him. God allowed Kerouac to cry. God taught him how to cry.

Kerouac later goes on to say that no one would have cared if he cried, "And me
leaning on the lamppost wiping / eyes, / eyes, / nobodyís known Iíd cried /
or woulda cared anyway," and he thanks God for letting him realize this inside
of himself. Kerouac also makes a statement about his life, I knew God You / had
better plans than that / So whatever plan you have for me / Splitter of majesty
/ Make it short / Brief / Make it snappy / bring me home to the Eternal Mother /
today It is as if Kerouac is waiting for