Dean Moriarty encapsulates a truly iconic literary character. Dean serves as a foil to Sal, our amazingly observant and insightful narrator. Dean epitomizes the reckless, but endearing, character that pushes the story. Jack Kerouac brilliantly utilizes Dean, allowing for an organic and sublime story to develop. “On The Road” ushers and delivers not only a wonderful story, but develops a truly iconic and memorable character. But who do we remember more? Sal’s uncanny crystallization of the journey or Dean’s leading role in their journey?
At times it feels like Dean is the overwhelming victor and answer to the question. But why? Dean produces a vibrant color, which makes Kerouac’s art worth engaging with. Dean resuscitates Sal’s soul, his will to live. Kerouac starts the book by glorifying Dean. Establishing him as a legend before it begins, “With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road…Dean is the perfect guy for the road” (Kerouac, 1). Sal felt that “everything was dead” but Dean brought him back (1). This amazing journey would not exist without the intoxicating charisma and energy possessed by Dean.
Dean could be characterized as an endearing bull in a diner; he’s soft and fuzzy, but a bull’s a bull. He simply defines reckless behavior, a clear-cut imprint of the road he comes from and traverses. The west, the diner, seems like enough space but he finds a way to get into trouble. Though, scintillating and intensely interesting, his behavior is reprehensible. But it is so good. His cavalier attitude makes for an appetizing and flavorful read. He in my opinion is the main attraction.
Without Dean “On The Road” would lose its flavor and essence. His influence on the wild, free, and spontaneous vibe depicts the beauty of a foil. What Sal lacks Dean excels in. Jack Kerouac displays the hallmark of the Beat generation, with an iconic and inebriating character; Dean drives the novel as much, if not more than Sal.