Literary Precedents for Sailor Song

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In this sweeping saga, Kesey pays tribute to a number of writers. He alludes to the Bible, Shakespeare's Henry the Fourth, Part One (c.1597), Stendhal's Le Rouge et le Noir (1931), and Bob Dylan's song lyrics. He even incorporates his own children's book The Sea Lion into the narrative. Particularly revealing are the book tides Alice Carmody discovers on Isaak Sallas's shelves: Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1851), William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying (1930), Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises (1926; see separate entry), John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (1939; see separate entry), and Jack Kerouac's On the Road (1957; see separate entry). Kesey's Sailor Song shares with Moby-Dick and The Grapes of Wrath an epic sweep, uses the device of multiple points of view that he so admires in As I Lay Dying, depicts a wasteland world with affinities to the moral decadence Hemingway portrays in his first great novel, and reveals...

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This section contains 235 words
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Buy the Sailor Song Study Guide
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