English and Modern Languages
Master of Arts (MA)
Beat Generation, David Foster Wallace, Jack Kerouac, New Sincerity, On the Road, Sincerity
English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America | Rhetoric and Composition
Devin, Jonathan Michael, "Mad to be Sincere: Authenticity, Irony, and Kerouac’s Response to Modern Reality" (2015). Masters Theses. 367.
This project explores the qualities of sincerity, authenticity, and irony in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road. The thesis asserts that that On the Road is neither ironic nor authentic, but, rather, that it both possesses aspects of traditional sincerity and anticipates the New Sincerity movement in contemporary literature. Through observing the characteristics of traditional sincerity and New Sincerity in the novel, the thesis amends the novel's critical position by showing a level of complexity, foresight, and nuance in the text. Ultimately, the thesis shows Kerouac's response to modern reality, presenting the limitations of authenticity and irony while esteeming the power of sincerity.