Reading On the Road, my students tend to judge Dean Moriarty as insane, Carlo Marx as weird, Sal Paradise as sad. They're all (the characters, not the students) drug addicts and problem drinkers. These categories tend to become fixed, un-nuanced.
If so, here I am again claiming that students don't want to move or be moved. They don't want to submit or explore. They don't to be challenged or renewed.
Such a claim is unfair to individual students and maybe to all students. I'm not sure anymore. I'm not sure if such a claim is the reason for or the result of my thoughts of quitting my day job.
It's easy to read pointlessness in how the characters in On the Road live their lives. It's easy--as their language, behaviour, morals, decisions, etc., sail past, like lost comets, to deep space beyond us--not to go with them.
Watching North by Northwest last night for the 34th time, I dug again the 50s cars and that long, virtually wordless, cropduster scene set along a road in the flattest of prairies west of Chicago (not far, I imagine, from Sal's Route 66, Chicago to LA). I thought of Dean and Sal and the '49 Hudson. I'm thinking now that more than ever we need, as we always have, to drop out--to go down that "holy road," as Sal says, and get the hell out of who we think we are.