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Jack Kerouac Quotes From His Books About Life

Explore these Jack Kerouac quotes to learn more about his views on life, writing, and more.

Jack Kerouac was an American novelist who was part of what was known as the ‘Beat Generation.’

The Beat was a group of novelists who wrote about the rejection of economic materialism and standard narrative values.

They wrote about sexual liberation, the human condition, and experimenting with drugs.

Other authors included Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Lucien Carr, and Herbert Huncke.

Some of Jack’s most popular works were The Dharma BoysBig Sur, and On the Road.

His first novel, The Sea is My Brother, which he completed during his service as a United States Merchant Marine, would not be published until about 40 years after his death.

These Jack Kerouac quotes are from some of his most prolific works.

There are also quotes about his views on life and writing.

He likely influenced an entire generation of American readers as well as many other cultural icons such as The DoorsThe Beatles, and Bob Dylan

Jack Kerouac quotes from ‘The Dharma Boys’

1. “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

2. “Let the mind beware, that though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are pretty glorious.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

3. “One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

4. “Finding Nirvana is like locating silence.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

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5. “It all ends in tears, anyway.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

6. “Pain or love or danger makes you real again….” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

7. “The silence was an intense roar.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

8. “I felt free and therefore I was free.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

9. “Believe that the world is an ethereal flower, and ye live.” ― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Jack Kerouac quotes from ‘On the Road’

10. “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

11. “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

12. “The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

13. “I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

14. “There was nothing to talk about anymore. The only thing to do was go.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

15. “The road must eventually lead to the whole world.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

16. “I was suddenly left with nothing in my hands but a handful of crazy stars.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

17. “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

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18. “Life is life, and kind is kind.” ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Jack Kerouac quotes about life and writing

19. “The only truth is music.” ― Jack Kerouac

20. “My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” ― Jack Kerouac

21. “Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream.” ― Jack Kerouac

22. “Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.” ― Jack Kerouac

23. “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” ― Jack Kerouac

24. “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference.” ― Jack Kerouac

25. “I’m going to marry my novels and have little short stories for children.” ― Jack Kerouac

Which of these Jack Kerouac quotes is your favorite?

Thomas Wolfe, who Kerouac read avidly, influenced the Town and the City.

Kerouac wrote Big Sur, which features his alter ego Jack Delouz, over a ten-day period.

It encompasses his stay in Big Sur California.

Many of his works were known to be fictionalized autobiographies.

It is clear that Kerouac was the epitome of a troubled artist.

He was honorably discharged from the military on psychiatric grounds.

He was a lifelong alcoholic who died at 47 years old due to cirrhosis complications.

Despite that, or maybe in part because of that, his work was visionary.

What is your favorite novel by Jack Kerouac?

Do you have any other favorite Jack Kerouac quotes and sayings to add?

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Feel free to leave your answers in the comment section below!

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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  1. Julian

    February 4, 2021 at 4:52 AM

    Nice selection of quotes, optimism and resignation alternate cosmic insight and simple life observation. Kerouac’s words still ring true.

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