Jack Kerouac Quotes: Explore Wisdom and Inspiration

Discover Jack Kerouac Quotes  on life, writing, and more through his thought-provoking quotes.

A prominent figure in the ‘Beat Generation,’ Jack Kerouac was an American novelist.

The Beats were a literary movement that countered conventional materialism and narrative norms.

They delved into themes like sexual freedom, the human experience, and experimental drug use.

Notable contemporaries in this movement included Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, Lucien Carr, and Herbert Huncke.

Among Jack Kerouac’s celebrated works are “The Dharma Bums,” “Big Sur,” and “On the Road.” Surprisingly, his first novel, “The Sea is My Brother,” written during his service in the United States Merchant Marine, remained unpublished until nearly four decades after his passing.

These Jack Kerouac quotes are drawn from some of his most prolific literary creations.

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1. “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”


2. “Maybe that’s what life is, a wink of the eye and winking stars.”


3. “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”


4. “Be in love with your life, every detail of it.”


5. “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’”

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6. “The only truth is music.”

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7. “There was nothing to talk about anymore. The only thing to do was go.”


8. “My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.”


9. “I felt free, and therefore I was free.”


10. “The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great that I thought I was in a dream.”


11. “The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view.”


12. “Something great is about to happen to me: I’m about to love somebody very much.”


13. “Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don’t be sorry.”


14. “Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great strange dream.”


15. “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”

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Jack Kerouac Quotes On Romance

16. “Will you love me in December as you do in May?”


17. “We turned at a dozen paces, for love is a duel, and looked at each other for the last time.”


18. “We agreed to love each other madly.”


19. “It’s not that I can’t fall in love. It’s really that I can’t help falling in love with too many things all at once. So, you must understand why I can’t distinguish between what’s platonic and what isn’t because it’s all too much and not enough at the same time.”


20. “A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.”


21. “I want her to say I’ll never get rid of her. I want to be chased till eternity, till I catch her.”


22. “Forgive everyone for your own sins and be sure to tell them you love them, which you do.”


23. “As far as I’m concerned, the only thing to do is sit in a room and get drunk.”


24. “Pretty girls make graves.”


25. “Love is all.”


26. “And the story of love is a long sad tale ending in graves.”


Jack Kerouac Quotes From His Best Books

27. “I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was. I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”


28. “The silence was an intense roar.”


29. “One day, I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”


30. “I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another ’till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”


31. “They have worries, they’re counting the miles, they’re thinking about where to sleep tonight, how much money for gas, the weather, how they’ll get there, and all the time they’ll get there anyway, you see.”


32. “We lay on our backs, looking at the ceiling and wondering what God had wrought when He made life so sad.”


33. “Things are so hard to figure out when you live from day to day in this feverish and silly world.”


34. “I just won’t sleep, I decided. There were so many other interesting things to do.”


35. “I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future.”


36. “Sure baby, mañana. It was always mañana. For the next few weeks, that was all I heard—mañana, a lovely word and one that probably means heaven.”


37. “I like it because it’s ugly. All his life was in that line.”


Inspiring Jack Kerouac Quotes

38. “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”


39. “My whole wretched life swam before my weary eyes, and I realized no matter what you do, it’s bound to be a waste of time in the end, so you might as well go mad.”


40. “I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page, and I could do anything I wanted.”


41. “On soft Spring nights, I’ll stand in the yard under the stars. Something good will come out of all things yet. And it will be golden and eternal, just like that. There’s no need to say another word.”


42. “But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforeseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?”


43. “I didn’t know what to say. I felt like crying. Goddammit everybody in the world wants an explanation for your acts and for your very being.”


44. “I promise I shall never give up, and that I’ll die yelling and laughing, and that until then I’ll rush around this world I insist is holy and pull at everyone’s lapel and make them confess to me and to all.”


45. “Dreams were so irrational, so gray with a nameless terror and yet, too, so haunting and beautiful.”


46. “All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.”


47. “There are worse things than being mad.”


48. “Roaring dreams take place in a perfectly silent mind. Now that we know this, throw the raft away.”


49. “If moderation is a fault, then indifference is a crime.”

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50. “We all must admit that everything is fine and there’s no need in the world to worry, and in fact, we should realize what it would mean to us to understand that we’re not really worried about anything.”


51. “But, outside of being a sweet little girl, she was awfully dumb and capable of doing horrible things.”


52. “I was surprised, as always, by how easy the act of leaving was and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.”


53. “I’m right there, swimming in the river of hardships, but I know how to swim.”


54. “Something that you feel will find its own form.”


55. “We were all delighted; we all realized we were leaving confusion and nonsense behind and performing our one and noble function of the time, move.”


Jack Kerouac Quotes About Health

56. “It all ends in tears anyway.”


57. “What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?”


58. “It always makes me proud to love the world somehow; hate’s so easy compared.”


59. “Life must be rich and full of loving; it’s no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone.”


60. “One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls.”


61. “Houses are full of things that gather dust.”


62. “Pain, or love, or danger makes you real again.”

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63. “I feel guilty for being a member of the human race.”


64. “A sociable smile is nothing but a mouth full of teeth.”


65. “I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life but that great consciousness of life.”


66. “My aunt once said that the world would never find peace until men fell at their women’s feet and asked for forgiveness.”


67. “I believed in a good home, in sane and sound living, in good food, good times, work, faith, and hope. I have always believed in these things. It was with some amazement that I realized I was one of the few people in the world who really believed in these things without going around making a dull middle-class philosophy out of it. I was suddenly left with nothing in my hands but a handful of crazy stars.”


68. “My eyes were glued on life, and they were full of tears.”


69. “All of life is a foreign country.”


70. “My manners, abominable at times, can be sweet. As I grew older, I became a drunk. Why? Because I like ecstasy of the mind. I’m a wretch. But I love, love.”


71. “You can’t live in this world, but there’s nowhere else to go.”


72. “Offer them what they secretly want, and they, of course, immediately become panic-stricken.”


73. “Hell! I’m gladpanic stricken I did it. It’s going to be a change. I call this life!”


74. “I don’t know, I don’t care, and it doesn’t make any difference.”


75. “What difference does it make after all? Anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in heaven, for what’s heaven? What’s earth? All in the mind.”


76. “I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives, our actual night, the hell of it, the senseless emptiness.”


77. “He saw that all the struggles of life were incessant, laborious, painful, that nothing was done quickly, without labor, that it had to undergo a thousand fondlings, revisings, moldings, addings, removings, graftings, tearings, correctings, smoothings, rebuildings, reconsiderings, nailings, tackings, chippings, hammerings, hoistings, connectings, all the poor fumbling uncertain incompletions of human endeavor. They went on forever and were forever incomplete, far from perfect, refined, or smooth, full of terrible memories of failure and fears of failure, yet, in the way of things, somehow noble, complete, and shining in the end.”


78. “Isn’t it true that you start your life as a sweet child, believing in everything under your father’s roof? Then comes the day of the Laodiceans, when you know you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and with the visage of a gruesome grieving ghost, you go shuddering through nightmare life.”


79. “And nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old.”


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Jack Kerouac Quotes On Environment

80. “I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you; they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify by their own lonesome familiarity to this feeling.”


81. “Beautiful insane in the rain.”


82. “Soon it got dusk, a grapy dusk, a purple dusk over tangerine groves and long melon fields; the sun the color of pressed grapes, slashed with burgundy red, the fields the color of love and Spanish mysteries.”


83. “My witness is the empty sky.”


84. “For the first time in my life, the weather was not something that touched me, that caressed me, froze or sweated me, but became me.”


85. “Sweet life continues in the breeze, in the golden fields.”


86. “Let nature do the freezing and frightening and isolating in this world. Let men work and love and fight it off.”


87. “And when the fog’s over, and the stars and the moon come out at night, it’ll be a beautiful sight.”


88. “Bee, why are you staring at me? I am not a flower?”


89. “It was a rainy night. It was the myth of a rainy night.”


90. “My shoes are clean from walking in the rain.”


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