The word cool was developed into English slang following World War II to mean more than relating to temperature. By the 1950's and 60's cool represented a way of life, a relaxed indifference. This way of life was demonstrated and later followed by characters known as Beats. These Beats took cool above and beyond just being relaxed or indifferent. Today, fifty years later, being cool is very different than what it once was with the same roots defining it. It is now difficult to find one concrete definition that can withstand the passing of decades. Jack Kerouac was one of the famous Beats during the time following the war. He, like many of his fellow friends and Beat members, wrote about the cool and hip.
[...] In On The Road Kerouac used characters to show that it was not the high expectations they had that made them cool, but rather the search to satisfy them. The search for the orgasm can be used as a metaphor for the many things sought after by the characters in On The Road, including the women they met, the places they stayed, and their overall state of life. The search that Mailer wrote about is what drove Sal, Sal's right-hand man and gang leader Dean Moriarty (the epitome of cool), and the rest of the Beats to do what they did and defined who they were. [...]
[...] At the end of the novel Sal, once again, returned to New York and settled down. He was past that stage in his life of searching and he believed he had found his home. He was no longer moving around and therefore he was no longer Sal's last memory of Dean was of Dean moving once again and Sal will forever remember Dean as being cool because while Sal was in Dean's life, Dean never settled. The concept of searching for the ultimate orgasm was not just demonstrated by the location, the women, or objects; it was really demonstrated simply by their way of life. [...]
[...] He was constantly moving from one woman to the next, trying to find the life and the woman that he had dreamed up. However, similar to the orgasm, it is all a state of mind of having expectations that are unreachable because the mind keeps saying there is someone better out there. All of the other Beats looked at Dean as being because he had all these women after him all the time. They did not admire him because he kept rejecting women but rather because he kept searching. [...]
[...] However, Sal had a whole life to show for it, where as Dean was cool but had nothing to show for it. There life was what they made of it. Towards the end of the novel, after Dean realized he would never find his father, he told Sal, spend a whole life of non-interference with the wishes of others [ . ] and nobody bothers you and you cut along and make it your own way [ . ] What's your road man? [...]
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