Throughout the book, I was struck by Kerouac’s sense of geo-location. He names so many specific places, usually in relation to the people he is hitch-hiking with. For instance, on page 118, he mentions stopping in Davenport, Iowa. How many people in the class have been to Davenport? I have, but only because my mom grew-up there. This really made me wonder about Kerouac’s intended audience. He throws out all these locations–New York, Chicago, Iowa, Montana, Ohio, Utah, Denver, Texas, San Francisco–as if he expects each place to carry its own connotation among the readers. Do Kerouac’s characterizations of cities hold up?
HOw Kerouac seemingly throws cities at his readers is similar to Whitman’s use of listing. It doesn’t really evoke one idea but rather a bunch of connotations, unique to the reader.
I found this video, and I think it does a good job of capturing the randomness of hitchhiking. As seen in the video, the man doesn’t really know if/when he will be picked up. It does a great job of exemplifying the life-philosophy that Kerouac seems to perpetuate throughout the book, especially with Neal–never being tied down, letting the current of life carry you on.