Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Romancing the Hobo

I think it's really interesting how Kerouac romanticizes the hobo life. Not so much hobos specifically, but the idea of how they live simply and appreciatively, but also how the direction American society and culture are moving is trying to kill that ideology. Kerouac on the other hand obviously has a great appreciation for this philosophy and resents people turning against it. I feel like a lot of his defining people like Whitman and Franklin is his argument not necessarily for this way of living, but against the arguments against it, like a counter-offensive. That the great people who built this country and shaped it's culture and are ingrained into every Americans lives either directly or indirectly (depending on the individual) lived by this philosophy and by rejecting it would be to loose what once made us great.
I loved how he even tried to explain why the shift against the hobo occurred: we became afraid and self important. We began looking down on them, and without a proper understanding of the situation, we got scared. He describes the shift as "In Brueghel's time children danced around  the hobo, he wore huge and raggy clothes and always looked straight ahead indifferent to the children, and the families didn't mind the children playing with the hobo, it was a natural thing. - But today mothers hold tight their children when the hobo passes through town, because of what newspapers made the hobo to be- the rapist, the strangler, child-eater.- Stay away from strangers, they'll give you poison candy" (2977).
My problem is that times have changed even since he wrote this and "hobo" doesn't seem like the most appropriate metaphor anymore, although the point still gets through tremendously thanks to Kerouac's writing. Today I feel like people who choose this kind of lifestyle are more stereotyped as the hippies and such, as where the hobo is more of a homeless bum, stereotyped as a drug addict panning for money for more drugs. But that's not really Kerouac's fault, it was just a point I thought of and found interesting enough to see what kind of reaction it would get here.

1 comment:

  1. I must say that you are right hobos today is not what they are called today. They lived in luxury you would think. But today they are what you might say homeless people. So what happen and how did this change.