The Dharma Bums: Part II

Today Nate and I ventured to Lake Mac to enjoy the nice weather. He watched Avatar and I finished The Dharma Bums. Like I mentioned in an earlier post--I loved this book in high school because I wanted to be that wandering traveler that the main character is. But this time I liked the book for different reasons (though I don't agree with the Buddhism spoken of in the book, but that's a topic for a new post...).

A small part of me still desires to be nomadic. But even more of me craves the simplistic lifestyle practiced by so many of the characters in the book. Sometimes I am so of this world---I desire things more than I crave relationships with God and people. I sometimes strive for man's approval, and I am great at wasting time doing worthless activities. This second read really made me rethink how I live.

Another aspect of the book I love is the writing style. It rambles on and on switching from thought to thought with endless run-on sentences and lacks "proper" punctuation, but it all works. It fits with the rambling and traveling the characters do. Here are some of my favorite excerpts from the book:

  • "But let the mind beware, that though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are pretty glorious" (238).
  • "...see the whole ting is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all the crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars, at least new fancy cars, certain hair oils an deodorants and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and all living creatures..." (98).
  • "Japhy [a main character] was considered an eccentric around the campus, which is the usual thing for campuses and college people to think whenever a real man appears on the scene---colleges being nothing by grooming schools for the middle-class non-identity which usually finds its perfect expression on the outskirts of the campus in rows of well-to-do houses with lawns and television sets in each living room with everybody looking at the same thing and thinking the same thing at the same time while" (38-39).
If you haven't read The Dharma Bums and are looking for a good summer read, pick it up. You won't be disappointed!

1 comment:

Heart's Cry said...

I'm going to check this book now!!!! Reading or being around people who live simply and with great freedom touches a very huge desire in my life! Thanks for sharing.