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The Dharma Bums Setting & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 66 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Dharma Bums.
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Objects/Places

Dharma

The dharma is literally the body of philosophy expounded by Buddha and the duty to pursue a life of conduct in harmony with that philosophy, which will lead to enlightenment. In the novel, the word is often used in a more general sense of being in the 'right' place and doing the 'right' thing, 'right' being what is personally productive toward one's enlightenment. Thus, a dharma bum is a hobo or bum who is a bum because that is his dharma - not necessarily because being a bum is an entertaining way to live.

Buddhism

Buddhism is the teaching or philosophy of Buddha that life is filled with suffering caused by desire, that suffering ceases when desire ceases and that enlightenment obtained through good conduct and meditation releases one from desire and, hence, from suffering. Ray Smith and Japhy Ryder are practitioners of Buddhism, and Ray's personal...

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This section contains 1,069 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Dharma Bums Study Guide
Copyrights
The Dharma Bums from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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