Jack Kerouac Writing Styles in The Dharma Bums

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Point of View

Ray Smith, a primary participant in all of the novel's scenes, narrates the novel from the first-person point of view. The narrator is reliable, intelligent and sympathetic. Ray narrates his own story along with that of Japhy Ryder, the novel's secondary protagonist.

The first-person point of view is not only appropriate, but critical to the success of the novel, which is essentially the story of Ray's personal enlightenment. Ray's introspective moments are presented with clarity and are believable because they are presented in the first-person. The first-person point of view also allows the novel's structure to focus easily and naturally on the narrative aspects that contribute to the novel's themes. For example, when Alvah Goldbook's character has nothing to contribute to the novel's development, he simply vanishes from the narrative. This tight focus is made possible and believable because of the first-person point of view.

Setting

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