Jack Kerouac


Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac was born on March 12, 1922 to French-Canadian parents in the working-class “Little Canada” neighborhood of Lowell, Massachusetts, a mill town some 30 miles northwest of Boston. He spoke only French until the age of seven, and his French-Canadian heritage, along with the Roman Catholic faith in which he was raised, was a strong influence throughout his life. He studied at Lowell High School, the Horace Mann School in New York City, Columbia University, and The New School. He became famous as Jack Kerouac, author of On the Road (1957), the novel that is considered to be a quintessential statement of the 1950s literary movement known as the Beat Generation. Source

In Vain

The stars in the sky

In vain

The tragedy of Hamlet

   In vain

The key in the lock

      In vain

The sleeping mother

      In vain

The lamp in the corner

         In vain

The lamp in the corner unlit

            In vain

Abraham Lincoln

                        In vain

The Aztec empire

                           In vain

The writing hand: in vain

(The shoetrees in the shoes

         In vain

The windowshade string upon

            the hand bible

   In vain—

   The glitter of the greenglass


In vain

The bear in the woods

         In vain

The Life of Buddha

         In vain)





Literary Movements:

Beat Generation

Anthology Years:



Doubt & Fear


Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses