The face of God at the end of the road : the sacramentality of Jack Kerouac in Lowell, America, and Mexico

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Religious Studies


Department of Religious Studies


Advisor: Sandra A. Yocum


This dissertation examines Catholic devotionalism's positive impact on the novelist Jack Kerouac's work. It examines how Kerouac's engagement with devotionalism fostered his sacramentality and his sensibility of the imminent presence of the sacred, and the dissertation examines how Kerouac's sacramentality/sensibility moved him to attempt to convey the same sensibility to his readers. After the introduction, the dissertation examines how the Catholic subculture of Lowell, Massachusetts cultivated and fostered Kerouac's sacramentality. Then, it explores the interaction between Kerouac's devotionalism and sacramentality with mid-twentieth century/postwar America while it explores how his sacramentality offered him a way to critique the increased commodification of American life. Finally, it explores Kerouac's travels in Mexico and seeks to understand why that was the place where he achieved his greatest vision -- a vision of God's face.


Kerouac, Jack, 1922-1969 Criticism and interpretation, Catholic Church In literature, Devotion in literature, American history; American literature; American studies; Canadian literature; Canadian studies; French Canadian culture; French Canadian literature; history; Latin American studies; literature; religion; theology; theology; devotionalism; sacramentality; US Catholicism; American Catholicism; American Catholic studies; Mexican Catholicism; French Canadian Catholicism; Jack Kerouac; On the Road; popular culture; critical theory; cultural theory

Rights Statement

Copyright 2013, author