Female characters in Jack Kerouac's Fiction
Jack Kerouac, accepted speaker for the Beat Generation in American literature, used women as vehicles in his attempt to define himself in both his life and his fiction. His three female-centered novels, Maggie Cassidy, The Subterraneans, and Tristessa show the male protagonists following a pattern of departure from home, experience in a foreign world, and return to home. Maggie Cassidy is Jacky Dulouoz's sexual initiation although the relationship is unfulfilled. With Mardou Fox of The Subterraneans Leo Percepied has a sexually-fulfilled relationship, but in Tristessa Jack Duluoz attempts a return to chastity. Additionally, Kerouac's treatment of women as vehicles for his and his characters' own convenience appears to be typical of the Beat Generation and its permeating attitude toward women.