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36 Best Jack Kerouac Quotes

Jack Kerouac was a renowned American poet and novelist who reached the peak of success after disseminating his published novel On the Road. It discusses the series of expeditions through every corner of the United States by impoverished individuals who found beauty in life despite facing numerous struggles.

Kerouac’s successful work turned out to be an American classic that morphed the Beat Generation. This literary movement revolves around the remains of American culture and politics after the devastating end of World War II. Alongside prolific authors and novelists like Alan Ginsberg and William Burroughs. Together, they led the Beat Generation.

Kerouac’s creation became his bridge for various recognitions where people and critics applauded his spontaneous writing skills. His works made his reader felt luxuriated by releasing relatable poetries with relevantly outstanding verses. Unfortunately, amidst his enormous accomplishments, Kerouac succumbed to drug and alcohol abuse, where he subsisted as a substance addict until the end of his life.

Regardless, his creations are still very much alive to capture everyone’s attention with an initial intention – to inspire and encourage realization and change. Here are some of Jack Kerouac’s inspirational quotes for you to relate with as you go on with your lives.

The one thing that we yearn for in our living days, that makes us sigh and groan and undergo sweet nauseas of all kinds, is the remembrance of some lost bliss that was probably experienced in the womb and can only be reproduced (though we hate to admit it) in death.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

It’s not uncommon to have something in common: we, inhabitants of the world, go with our lives every day, whether it’s starting to be a bad day or not, or whether the weather is kind enough to allow us to carry on in our tasks. But in reality, that’s not what we wanted. What we wish for is to accomplish our lives and end up in a peaceful zone where we only experience during birth and death.

The sun goes down long and red. All the magic names of the valley unrolled—Manteca, Madera, all the rest. Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries. I stuck my head out the window and took deep breaths of the fragrant air. It was the most beautiful of all moments

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

The beauty of life lies in indulging simple moments and realizing that no matter how you put it – you are privileged enough to witness such scenery when others cannot. Perhaps, colors aren’t just descriptions yet, an emotion that we unknowingly attach as we get more familiar with it by expressing ourselves.

But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

No matter how impossible one idea is, we still get through it anyways. Not because it’s a necessity but because the burning of our insides is itching to go out and experience things. We may lose or win, yet we still go on and on to undergo the same things, but this time, different paths and moments where we have a chance to learn.

Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

The term “battered” refers to tiredness and worn-out bodies, while the “sidewalk” indicates being in the middle of journeys. Every stop is a contemplation if we continue with our baggage or drop them and go straight ahead to keep walking.

Sal, we gotta go and never stop going ’till we get there.’
‘Where we going, man?’
‘I don’t know but we gotta go.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

The willingness to run and go comes along with uncertainty. We are clueless human beings that do not have any idea what road lies ahead, but the great thing about it is the wonder and curiosity that fuels us to go beyond.

But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Wishing to be a part of history is what we all have been yearning. We search for controversial events, astonishing miracles, and remarkable people, and expect nothing but the beauty of the sight. Yet, the amazement will only arise as we get to see the unexpected because surprises excite us.

My aunt once said that the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Misogyny marked itself in our lives long before we even figured how the world works. Because of that, several issues arise every single time a man disgraced a woman’s pride and dignity. That is the root cause of violence and inequality that happens to not only women but also all kinds of life. If you can teach your son compassion, the world would be a lot better than it had been.

Don’t touch me, I’m full of snakes.

Jack Kerouac

According to the holy book, sins derived from snakes. With thousands of stimuli in our body, there is no doubt that we react – almost immediately to every word, events, and touches. Discipline should not come from the provoked but to those who stimulated it as well. Hence, we are responsible for our actions.

A sociable smile is nothing but a mouth full of teeth.

Jack Kerouac

Being genuine is something you cannot fake. You may smile and laugh, but your eyes and body language will serve as a dead giveaway. It happens most of the time to people who think being a socialite means flaunting your luxurious lives. What they don’t know is socialization’s origin is understanding and friendliness.

Things are so hard to figure out when you live from day to day in this feverish and silly world.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll

Living in chaos interrupts the broadening of our knowledge that we zero in our attention on what disasters are present in front rather than seeing the bigger picture in life. Someone is continuously blocking our view by giving us something to worry about, but who might be doing that? You be the judge.

The page is long, blank, and full of truth. When I am through with it, it shall probably be long, full, and empty with words.

Jack Kerouac, Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings

The long blank page conceives the truth that life is nothing unless you write something to make it more meaningful. But words are words and will remain empty until we take immediate actions.

If critics say your work stinks it’s because they want it to stink and they can make it stink by scaring you into conformity with their comfortable little standards. Standards so low that they can no longer be considered “dangerous” but set in place in their compartmental understandings.

Jack Kerouac

There will be people behind criticisms that will spit dirt on your works not because it deserves that but because they cannot comprehend it enough to understand the metaphors and deep meanings. Such filth should not terrify you. Instead, it should make you proud upon the realization that a low life individual doesn’t have that many credentials.

All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.

Jack Kerouac

A group of human beings with one intention is called activists. They dreamt of changing the world by providing a voice to the voiceless and mirroring the acts of heroism to serve and die trying for their country. This movement is too powerful that a leader can no longer be a leader without being a responsible servant to his people.

My eyes were glued on life and they were full of tears.

Jack Kerouac, Atop an Underwood: Early Stories and Other Writings

We never realize how much drought our life became until we get to see it with our own eyes, which was once full of life and energy. But the good thing about realization is we recognize and take actions because that is how life works.

Let nature do the freezing and frightening and isolating in this world. let men work and love and fight it off.

Jack Kerouac, Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954

The role of mother earth is inevitable, but the people borrowing her land isn’t. As a borrower, you must look after what you’ve acquired and cradle it with care, if necessary. Natural disasters will always be there, and so will our responsibility and discipline.

He saw that all the struggles of life were incessant, laborious, painful, that nothing was done quickly, without labor, that it had to undergo a thousand fondlings, revisings, moldings, addings, removings, graftings, tearings, correctings, smoothings, rebuildings, reconsiderings, nailings, tackings, chippings, hammerings, hoistings, connectings — all the poor fumbling uncertain incompletions of human endeavor. They went on forever and were forever incomplete, far from perfect, refined, or smooth, full of terrible memories of failure and fears of failure, yet, in the way of things, somehow noble, complete, and shining in the end.

Jack Kerouac

The painful reality about life is that you will go through a chaotic mess and clean it back to the way it was by executing a thousand adjustments. Like broken glasses, nothing will be the same anymore. Things like that are bound to happen every day that you feel unfit to become a complete person.

In the end, you will achieve being whole because these awful events are part of being human.

Isn’t it true that you start your life a sweet child believing in everything under your father’s roof? Then comes the day of the Laodiceans, when you know you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and with the visage of a gruesome grieving ghost you go shuddering through nightmare life.

Jack Kerouac

Your parents welcomed you in this world with nothing but words full of promises and stories about wealthy and kind kingdoms. But, as you got older, life will mean nothing like what they said. Empty promises will disappoint every fiber of your body, and you are most likely to end up vulnerable and miserable because a powerful kingdom took away every luxury you’ve once enjoyed.

Be in love with your life, every detail of it.

Jack Kerouac

You might not know it yet, but if you have a house with a roof on it, warm clothes, have a comfy bed and takes meal thrice a day, you are one lucky individual. The least you could do is appreciate what life gave you and give when you have more than what they have.

Roaring dreams take place in a perfectly silent mind. Now that we know this, throw the raft away.

Jack Kerouac, The Scripture of the Golden Eternity

Since life began, we’ve known silence as a tactic to shut everyone off. In reality, it is where ideas and dreams are born, just like how the universe came out of nowhere.

Thinking of the stars night after night I begin to realize ‘The stars are words’ and all the innumerable worlds in the Milky Way are words, and so is this world too. And I realize that no matter where I am, whether in a little room full of thought, or in this endless universe of stars and mountains, it’s all in my mind.

Jack Kerouac, Lonesome Traveler

Overthinking is comparable to the stars out there. It multiplies every second, yet only a few diminishes. You can be in a small room and feel big with these words in your mind.

I wished I was on the same bus as her. A pain stabbed my heart as it did everytime I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world of ours.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road: the Original Scroll

Love is severely complicated when you’re in love with someone who lives near yet remains untouchable due to the distant mind frame. Her mind revolves around someone else, and yours is full of her. That alone is a massive distance.

I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of ’em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures …

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

A revolution starts when everything seems to change, from the freedom down to what type of poetry is present. A single vision can give men something to inspire to go on with their duties.

I wanted to get me a full pack complete with everything necessary to sleep, shelter, eat, cook, in fact, a regular kitchen and bedroom right on my back, and go off somewhere and find perfect solitude and look into the perfect emptiness of my mind and be completely neutral from any and all ideas. I intended to pray, too, as my only activity, pray for all living creatures; I saw it was the only decent activity left in the world. To be in some river bottom somewhere, or a desert, or mountains, or some hut in Mexico, or shack in Adirondack, and rest and be kind, and do nothing else, practice what the Chinese call “do-nothing”.

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

There are times in our life that we felt truly alone. We find comfort in living in isolation, where no one will be there to bring a smile and disappointments in our faces. Doing nothing will not bear expectations and, thus, will not conceive regrets and frustrations.

Then I suddenly had the most tremendous feeling of the pitifulness of human beings, whatever they were, their faces, pained mouths, personalities, attempt to be gay, little petulances, feelings of loss, their dull and empty witticisms so soon forgotten: Ah, for what? I knew that the sound of silence was everywhere and therefore everything everywhere was silence. Suppose we suddenly wake up and see that what we thought to be this and that, ain’t this and that at all? I staggered up the hill, greeted by birds, and looked at all the huddled sleeping figures on the floor. Who were all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me? And who was I?

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Perhaps the ability to contemplate about life is what sets us apart from every animal in the world. Every day gives the same process where we rest only to wake by the sunsets. What are we? Do we deserve these events happening to us? Better yet, do we even deserve to live here in this miserable earth who knows nothing but to give agony and wound to other living creatures?

What’s your road, man? – holy boy road, madman road, rainbow road, guppy road, any road. It’s an anywhere road for anybody anyhow. Where body how?

Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll

The road we tackle measures our resiliency because of the unfamiliarity it holds where a terrifying truth may unfold behind it. To live in pure wonder is to take endless roads, whether it’ll hurt us or not. After all, no paths are unworthy of our dedication and will.

To me, a mountain is a Buddha. think of the patience, hundreds of thousands of years just sittin there bein perfectly silent and like praying for all living creatures in that silence and just waitin for us to stop all our frettin and fooling.” japhy got out the tea, Chinese tea, and sprinkled some in the tin pot, and had the fire going meanwhile…and pretty soon the water was boiling and he poured it out steaming into the tinpot and we had cups of tea with our tin cups…Remember that book I told you about the first sip is joy and the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy.

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Making our cup of tea will require patience, and so will our decisions to make. No results will come good with an abrupt choice. Afterward, remarkable moments will take place as we live with our chosen conclusion. Every little part of it carries unexplainable yet emotional experiences that could either make or break us.

You have no regard but yourself and your damned kicks. All you think about is what’s hanging between your legs and how much money or fun you can get out of people and then you just throw them aside. Not only that but you’re silly about it. It never occurs to you that life is serious and that people are trying to make something decent out of it instead of just goofing all the time.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll

The problem with our society is the so-called “class” that categorizes our lifestyle. It is where the privileged upper individuals enter the view. They will have no remorse for money and how they spend it rather than use it for good and be responsible enough to what power they hold.

I wish the whole world was dead serious about food instead of silly rockets and machines and explosives using everybody’s food money to blow their heads off anyway.

Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

This long, awful, and advantage-taking type of civilization eradicated the definition of Good governance. They don’t prioritize their citizens, who gave them power in the first place, anymore. They care about their ego and war more than the hungry stomach of millions of people.

And I will die, and you will die, and we all will die, and even the stars will fade out one after another in time.

Jack Kerouac

Wealth is nothing but accessories that you won’t need in the afterlife because, in the end, every one of us will suffer the same fate. Death has no rules and does not give two cents if you can pay for your life since we’re all humans, after all.

He had never felt anything like that before – yet somehow he knew that from now on he would always feel like that, always, and something caught at his throat as he realized what a strange sad adventure life might get to be, strange and sad and still much more beautiful and amazing than he could ever have imagined because it was so real, strangely sad.

Jack Kerouac, The Town, and the City

We can be confident that we’ve already experienced all sorts of emotions until we reach the peak of life, teaching us that no matter how long the journey was, you still know nothing. That’s the beauty of life, though, because it creates more spaces in your mind to fill with love and sadness.

Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk — real straight talk about souls, for life, is holy and every moment is precious.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Generations of traditional ideas taught young adolescents to take action without foreseeing the possible outcomes. Every moment in our lives is too precious that we have to consider all things before you submerging ourselves in a hasty decision.

I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Doing the same thing repeatedly every day seems to be a healthy routine, but it’s not. You’re not you unless you haven’t found what your calling is or where your supposed designation is in the world. Until then, you will only feel live like a ghost in a body that follows commands like a disoriented robot.

Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.

Jack Kerouac

The mountain is a disguise for what you truly desire. From now, as you work in front of your computer or brushing the fallen chips, you might think life is ordinary and dull. All of it will only be a memory the moment you set your foot on your rightful destination.

I had nothing to offer anybody except my confusion.

Jack Kerouac

A scientist invents things, people in business creates new tactics, Math teacher provides solutions, and so does you. Without confusion, knowledge doesn’t exist. Without expertise, humanity will live like ants, and everything will come from blind obedience. Our heroes didn’t offer their bodies. They gave their brains and brawns.

My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do it’s bound to be a waste of time in the end so you might as well go mad.

Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll

No matter how hard you worked throughout your existence or how many golds you’ve earned, you will still fall into complete darkness where everything you’ve used to know is nothing but a number. That is why you’re allowed to fall madly in love or be just mad. It doesn’t matter.

A scene should be selected by the writer for haunted-ness-of-mind interest.
If you’re not haunted by something, as by a dream, a vision, or a memory, which are involuntary, you’re not interested or even involved.

Jack Kerouac, Book of Sketches

You can’t possibly give justice to whatever you’re portraying when your mind is not in it, and you just went for it for the sake of views and money. Everything has to set off naturally because every artificial creation lacks one thing – heart.

Jack Kerouac Legacy

Jack Kerouac lived in a life full of realizations where the sceneries before him woke his senses or opened his eyes. Either way, both apprehensions inspired him- to fulfill the duty of humanity, which is to care and help. These quotations are nothing but words unless you decide it’s worth it for you to indulge and try.

Your life will not depend on these statements full of truth and devoid of action. Most importantly, seeing these quotes isn’t going to make you feel better. The reason is that we live in different worlds around distinct individuals with various experiences. Meaning, there are higher chances that there’s no correlation between what Kerouac had learned and your adventures.

To live a meaningful life is equivalent to doing what you love the most. Go for it, no matter how bumpy the road will get.

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