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AMERICAN STUDIES DISSERTATION

DISECTING THE LANDSCAPE Highways That Made America James Jarvis 2011


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Contents Introduction 1 Part I: Economy and the Los Angeles Sprawl 2 1.1 Highway Origins

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1.2 Interstate Highway System

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1.3 Roadside Economy 5 1.4 Los Angeles and the Sprawl

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Part II: American Life and Imagery

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2.1 Pleasure Trips11 2.2 Daily Life around the Car 12 2.3 Aesthetics and Symbolism

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2.4 Art and Music Influences

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Part III: Kerouac, Captain America and the 66 3.1 Kerouac on the Road

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3.3 Captain America and Billy the Kid on their Bikes 3.4 The Migrant Road of the 66

Conclusion

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Bibliography

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List of Illustrations

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Main document word count: 10931


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Introduction For those who have had the pleasure of extended time in the United States it becomes wholly apparent how much of an impact the highways of the 1950s have had on the country. Endless mileage of concrete surfaces that dissects the natural beauty of North America’s landscapes, highways that have reshaped iconic cities through urban sprawl and downtown decline, an integral extension of the a burgeoning automotive industry, and a symbol of youth culture and freedom that have inspired likes of Jack Kerouac and Easy Rider. There is something influential and appealing about highways that still hold prominence even today. Something western. The term ‘road trip’ instantly conjures images of long stretches of the road that includes the iconic Route 66, a sense of adventure, speed and freedom of exploring not only the countless destinations but also the romantic notion of learning about one self. I myself took on this adventure at the end of a study abroad period that took me across the continent, twice, and, like Kerouac, I too documented my journey in the form of a journal. This personal thesis will focus on the academic historical impact that highways have had on the growth of America while also dealing with its presence within popular culture. As a means for immediate and extended travel, the highway is the embodiment of America’s past and present: an extension of the manifest destiny, the American dream, and the ideals of individualism and freedom. As this thesis progresses it becomes apparent that it is not mere coincidence that numerous themes keeps on presenting themselves in both history and popular culture. The frontier ethos and pioneering spirit is on hand, as is the American ideal of individual freedom. Sex, also plays a part among the youth culture of the 1960s, Kerouac’s journal, and music based on the road. The aesthetic element of rhythm and repetition is also apparent in the lyrics and structure of literature while being a pivotal component of Hockney’s photomontage. The dissertation, following this introduction, is divided into three more parts. These follow a general procedure of consigning relevant themes and content together in to subsections. Part one (Economy and the Los Angeles Sprawl) starts by providing a historical context by analysing the origins of mass highway development through the Interstate System that provided a network of roads. The rest of the section will then move on to emerging economies that emerged by the road side, namely motels and McDonalds. Then the subject of the


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sprawl of American cities as the highway reshaped the nation’s cities will be addressed through the case study of Los Angeles, the city renowned for its numerous overlapping expressways. Part two (American Life and Imagery) continues on the from the preceding chapter by moving away from the city to its citizens, the way the highway has transformed the common ‘normality’ of American life and culture. The poetic imagery and resonance of driving on the road will be discussed with Jean Baudrillard as a key source. The inherent speed of highways will then be analysed in the form of popular culture, in both music and the visual arts. Part three (Kerouac, Captain America and the 66) serves as an interpretation through particular case studies. First is the widely read underground title by Jack Kerouac: On the Road. Secondly, in what should not be missed on a dissertation about highways, the iconic 1969 film Easy Rider starring Peter Fonder and Dennis Hopper will be dissected as it presents its own projections of what the endless road represents. Finally, a case study the most famous of drives, Route 66 will be presented as the essence of all that is discussed.

Part I: Economy and the Los Angeles Sprawl The Interstate System of the 1950s was the pivotal federal policy that allowed highways to dominate the American landscape. This part of this dissertation will first deal with the origins of the highway which accommodated the growing presence of the automobile economy over alternative mass transit since the 1920s. The Interstate System itself will then be covered before moving on to emerging economies that benefit from a nationwide network of roads while also dealing with the negatives, namely, urban sprawl and downtown decline. 1.1 Highway Origins Travel and transport by the road is seen as a significant function of civilised society, a symbol of an advanced nation.1 The burgeoning automobile economy during the 1920s presented America with its own ‘love affair’ with powerful engines and chromium. The automobile had successfully assimilated itself in to the lives of the American people.2 As the twentieth century progressed it would prove that America itself would 1 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life (Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1971) p 3 2 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincolt Company, 1975) p 8


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assimilate in to the automobile, the priority of highways over other transportation networks is testament to that. The mass production and ownership of private passenger cars provided personal mobility of a new era in transportation, to an extent that it once became possible to theoretically move the entire United States population by car at one time. Good roads were needed to facilitate for a demand in increased mobility. Hence the construction of highways which had three primary functions; to accommodate access to property; highways designed to carry local traffic; and arterial highways to connect traffic from intercommunity to long distance.3 The benefits of highways were clearly outlined in Lloyld Aldrich’s proponent report The Economy of Freeways: City of Los Angeles. It was appreciated that highways had the capacity to alleviate city congestion by handling, on average, three times the number of cars at twice the average speed than inner city roads. Additional benefits to the motorist were the stabilization or increase of property values; relief of overburdened surface arteries; increased tourist travel; increase of the radius of real estate development; and increased mobility in times of emergencies. One thing that Aldrich constantly addresses in this document is the monetary benefit highways will have on the local economy by reducing costs of intermediate goods and motorists who can save an average of two dollars per vehicle mile.4 This is document is evidently a piece of propaganda aimed to persuade the nation of the benefits of highways regardless of reasonable demand for such roads. It is interesting to note that Aldrich pointed out that his figures are the result of speculation rather than scientific fact. Highways, as this text will later inform, introduced as many negatives as positives. The origins of highways, however, can be traced back to the ‘Good Roads Movement’ in which aimed to change the pathetic state of the nation’s roads where only 8.66% of it were documented as surfaced in 1909. The formation of American Association of State Highway Officials in 1914, one of the most important political groups in the county, instigated an aggressive campaign for highways along with the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce and the American Road Builder’s Association. The first Federal Aid Highway Act of 1916 introduced a federal system of highway aid which was distributed through an independent bureaucracy. The act was focused towards areas and was anti-urban in design.5 This is

3 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, pp 8, 51, 60 4 Lloyd Aldrich, The Economy of Freeways: City of Los Angeles (Street and Parkway Design Division, 1953) pp 1, 3-5


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understandable due to the fact that the population was yet to centre upon urban destinations. However it was the Federal Highway Act of 1921 that first recognised the desirability of a national network of arterial highways.6 Each state was required to allocate seven percent of its road mileage as ‘federal-aid highways’. The primary interstate routes would receive sixty percent of the money while secondary intercounty rural routes received forty percent. This coincided with rising automobile ownership with eight million cars in 1920.7 Highway designer Hilaire Belloc stated a simple outline for roads to be as wide and straight as possible with no intersections and limited access to keep traffic flowing.8 These simple categories were the design that highways would be constructed. The impact of the Depression and the consequent Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal cannot be disregarded. The Great Depression was the worst in American history and within a year of his presidency in 1933 President Franklin D. Roosevelt shaped the New Deal which represented the culmination of numerous federal project grant-in-aids programs, in the attempt to save capitalism, the federal government was viewed as a savour.9 Of all work-relief jobs introduced by the New Deal, more than a third were focused on road and highway projects.10 Although it was the policy of the Interstate Highway System, a repercussion of the New Deal character, which was pivotal to highway development. 1.2 Interstate Highway System To induce state governments to adopt policies that favoured national interests, the federal government provided incentives. An example being the Interstate highway System during the 1950s, in which Congress provided for ninety percent of all costs to construction, and today federal highway money is still a prominent source of funding for the states. For those states that had the most trouble financing the movement towards a national standard, formula grants were introduced and the federal 5 Owen D. Gutfreund, 20th Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) pp 15, 19-20, 22 6 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, pp 61, 70 7 Owen D. Gutfreund, 20th Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape, pp 25-6 8 Hilaire Belloc, The Road (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1924) pp 196-8 9 Maldwyn A. Jones, The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1922, Second Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) pp 453, 458-461 10 Owen D. Gutfreund, 20th Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape, p 30


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government would sometimes payout up to five times that of state expenditures of those poorer states.11 The Interstate Highway System has an underlying rhetoric of federalist ideals. Fundamentally envisaged as a method to rectify the disproportion between the extraordinary demand for automobiles and the deficient level of highway facilities of the post war period an estimated $98 billion was sanctioned to the improvement of 35,000 miles of rural highways and 6,000 miles of multi-lane super highways near metropolitan areas within the twenty years following 1961.12 These improvements would increase the attraction for higher mobility for the public and most importantly tourists stated in Aldrich’s report. The Interstate Highway System of 1956 was imperative for advanced highway development since in provided states, crippled by finances, new sources of highway revenues primarily through toll roads thus improving the state’s ability to appease the demands of motorist. States were finally able to comfortably match the federal-aid grants after the Interstate legislation.13 Secretary of Treasury George M. Humphrey summed up the importance of Interstate Highway development by stating: America Lives of wheels, and we have to provide the highways to keep America living on wheels and keep the kind and form of life we want.14 Decades after the emergence of the automobile highways were finally able to match the demands of a burgeoning public which were assimilating themselves with the uses of private transportation. Automobiles had managed to usurp railway travel over long distances due to the highway facility and the comfort of privatised travel that in an essence allowed travel to anywhere. As subsequent chapters will contend, highways had a huge impact on the nation on an economic and urban environmental level. 1.3 Roadside Economy

11 Robert D. Albritton, ‘American Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations’, Edited by Gillian Peele [et al], Developments in American Politics 5 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) pp 130, 132 12 Ann Fetter Friedlaender, The Interstate Highway System: A Study in Public Investment (Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company, 1965) pp 1-2 13 Owen D. Gutfreund, 20th Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape, p 57 14 Mark Howard Rose, Express Highway Politics, 1939-1956 (Ph.D. dissertation: Ohio State University, 1973) p 215


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Of all the trips by private automobile, three quarters are made for economic reasons, with forty-six percent make business trips or travel to and from work.15 The development of highways opened up new entrepreneurial opportunities while simultaneously expanding existing ones. Highways that dissected rural landscapes provided cheap real estate land for the likes of gas stations, dinners, motels and shopping malls. Highways reinvented American economies related to the automobile culture. The extension of highway travel has a direct correlation to the increase in the Gross National Product.16 The automotive industry is a vital part of the national economy providing one-sixth of the GDP in 1970 when Americans drove a total of more than one trillion miles and spent over $93 billion to accommodate for their automobiles.17 Road construction led to mass use and ownership of automotive vehicles. This led to roadside servicing, tourist courts, roadside restaurants and motel chains with Travelodge and Holiday Inns dominating the industry in 1960.18 The postwar boom reached prominence in 1962 when nearly seventy-five percent of all public-lodging establishments where motels rather than hotels.19 The movement of goods via the motor truck freight industry has been a major beneficiary of the nationwide network of highways. Flexible mobility has overshadowed the prior dominance of railroad transportation that has struggled to compete with over seventy-five percent of freight movement done on the road.20 The advent of the motor truck freight industry has been very advantageous for small business’ that rely on the transport of goods to rural or small-urban areas.21 Access to airports that highways provide is another crucial advantage for businesses.22 Historians credit the trucking industry as a significant influence to the advancement of the post industrial civilization.23 Improved mobility has also seen the growth of bus travel in what is seen as a ‘revival of a stagecoach era’, the 15 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, p 107 16 U.S. Department of Transportation, 1968 National Highway Needs Report (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Ofice, 1968) p 10 17 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 9 18 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, pp 102-6 19 Robert More Fisher, The Postwar Boon in Hotels and Motels (Royal Ship: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1965) p 3 20 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, pp 109, 114, 119 21 J. Gordon McKay, ‘Highway Transportation’, Annuals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol.116 (November 1924) pp 129-130 22 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, p 27


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Greyhound System being a dominant company. After the highway improvements made in the 1950s a recorded 314,000 buses was in operation in 1966 an increase from 18,000 in 1925.24 The layout of the shopping centre is based on the initial designs of Kansas City real estate developer J.C. Nichols, a plaza with Spanish style architectural influences. Imitators, during the growth post Second World War, which of course coincided with the great development of highways were designed towards functionalism, an ‘impermanent plastic-neon prefabricated appearance’.25 Aimed almost predominately at a growing middle-class population, shopping malls have been called “worlds of artifice”, “palaces of consumption”, and “gardens of delight”; environments where everyone consumes yet no one lives. In the 1980s, after criticism of the ‘devoid of character’, mall developers sort to instil individuality into designs of mega-malls that look like Mexican haciendas or European villages. Jennifer Price aptly described the new malls as simulated place, environments where it is thought Americans feel most comfortable.26 Huge shopping centres, malls, appeared on the outskirts of cities, taking up thousands of acres thanks to new and efficient mobility.27 The expansion of shopping centres is an element of the urban issue of sprawling cities which will be addressed in the following chapter. Drive-ins are a huge feature that is strongly related to the development of highways. In an essence it brought existing entertainment amenities to a new environment defined by the automobile culture. The “drive-in” concept was profitably employed by outdoor motion pictures, restaurants, liquor stores, and now banks with ATMs.28 A prime example of drive-ins is the worldwide phenomenon of McDonalds of what is a dominant feature of the American roadside. The most successful of franchise chains, McDonalds belonged to entrepreneur 23 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 10 24 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, pp 96-9 25 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 9 26 Jennifer Price, ‘Looking for Nature at the Mall: A Field Guide to the Nature Company’, Edited by William Cronon, Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996) pp 189-192 27 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 9 28 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 9


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Ray Kroc with his hamburger stand in Des Plaines, Southern California, before spreading the golden arches nationwide in 1955. In fact, due to the favourable climate of the “Golden State”, California is home to many fast-food chains. Designed by architect Stanley Clark, McDonalds’ buildings are the essence of function and efficiency that is the hallmark of McDonalisation while the exterior was aimed at self-adverting and eye catching architecture with its golden arches.29 The term given to this style is architainment and it is a style can be traced over seventy years ago on standard roads. In the 1920s California’s automobile culture had been accompanied by ‘eye-catchers’ to attract motorists with restaurants that resembled hot dogs, owls, milk cans and doughnuts. 30 McDonalds is the embodiment of the drive-in economy and the architectural style of architainment that has become a distinctive feature of roadside ‘eyecatchers’. The highway had managed to contribute greatly to the American economy. Improved mobility has seen a burgeoning transportation industry based around the motor truck while drive-ins have established a sound business based on the roadside while making a distinctive style of architecture. Drive-ins will be further analysed as part of the automotive culture in Part II. 1.4 Los Angeles and the Sprawl The vast and rapid expansion of residential suburbia in the United States is of main concern for environmentalists, socialists, and architectural critics. Approximately seventy-five percent of all new construction in recent decades is categorised as real estate development in the outer suburbs and exurbs that has contributed to urban sprawl.31 The decline of inner suburbs is a direct result of urban sprawl. Mike Davis cited the downward spiral of aging districts to the attraction of living in newer and aesthetically pleasing outer suburbs.32 These modern problems all stem from the mass development of highways that have encouraged urban cities to expand. 29 Alan Hess, ‘The origins of McDonald’s Golden Arches’, Journal Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 45, No.1 (March 1986) pp 60-2

30 David Gebhard and Robert Winter, Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide (Utah: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1994) pp xxi-xxii

31 Ellen Dunham-Jones, ‘75%: The Next Big Architectural Project’, William S. Saunders (ed.) Sprawl and Suburbia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005) p 1

32 Mike Davis, ‘Ozzie and Harriet in Hell: On the Decline of Inner Suburbs’, William S. Saunders (ed.), Sprawl and Suburbia, p 28


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Los Angeles is a city that presents this problem in full because of all the major American cites, it is identified most closely with the automobile.33 The city moved into the era of the highway in December 10, 1940 after the construction of the Arreyo Seco, later renamed the Pasadena Freeway, the “miracle boulevard”.34 Of what was once a suburbanized modern, industrial metropolis, the city is now an exurbanized, postmodern, service city that, in no small part due to automobile dominance.35 Los Angeles is defined by urban highways, which take on average forty acres of land per route mile, which navigate traffic through its expanding urban districts.36 Critics of the urban sprawl in Los Angeles have conclusively blamed the highway system of making it not a city but a collection of suburbs that have contributed to the breakdown of society.37 Before moving on to the negatives of the urban sprawl that is related to highway construction, the positives itself should be acknowledged. One positive point was the beneficial process of ‘blending urban and rural society’ by breaking down isolation and seclusion that used to characterise rural life; rural areas were becoming culturally urbanised.38 The development of real estate over cheap land has made property affordable to mass public who wanted to move away from the centres for numerous reasons including; a fear of violence; more living space and leaner air; and a dislike for the confusion and congestion associated with the city areas.39 Prior to the dominance of automobile transit, suburban growth followed the tracks of trolley lines or train stations. The first main problem of the increase of automobile usage throughout the twentieth century is the inability of cities, especially downtown districts, to manage congestion. The suburbs were essentially designed for an automotive culture.40 Los Angeles decentralized quickly; vast tracts of open land were open for real development opportunities and manufacturing factories took opportunity 33 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, p 81 34 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 3 35 Enid Arvidson, ‘Remapping Los Angeles, or, Taking the Risk of Class in Postmodern Urban Theory’, Economic Geography, Vol. 75, No.2 (April 1999) p 134 (134-56) 36 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, p 306, 309 37 James J. Flink, The Automobile Age (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1990) p 142 38 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, p 166-7 39 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 28-9 40 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 28-9


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of road construction. In general, Americans believed sprawling cities to be a positive element, allowing citizens to enjoy both the urban and the rural. The Los Angeles downtown businesses favoured freeways because it was believed that newer roadways would improve access in and out of the business district.41 However, highways did little to alleviate congestion as John Jerome noted: Freeways make congestion... Freeways attract cars like magnate, pulling traffic off the secondary roads and local streets. Freeways funnel local traffic, in search of convenience, into the streams of long-haul through traffic for which the freeways were originally planned.42 Highways actually deposited more and more cars into downtown business districts five days a week. In response to mass congestion, cities had consigned one-third or more of the downtown space for automobile parking. A further twenty percent of downtown was built for the accommodation of automobiles with the construction of streets, alleys, freeways, and “cloverleaf” interchanges; all characteristics of Los Angeles.43 The decline of downtown Los Angeles, has a further underlying rhetoric of racial and social class issues where minority groups and unemployed or working class are relegated to Los Angeles’ downtown smog and high density areas, where the white middle to high class live in suburbanites and secured gated communities.44 Los Angeles presents the topic of environmental racism - the concept that nonwhites are disproportionately exposed to pollution and declining districts - and it is an example of structural racism that is present in America today. The example of ‘white privilege’ that maintains the ideal of movement towards clean and open spaces of new suburbs related to urban sprawl.45 An interesting sequence of urban events due to the highway has now led to a commitment towards mass transit over the last two decades. Senate legislative analyst, Bradford Snell criticised the United States 41 Scott L. Bottles, Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987) pp 176-8, 213 42 John Jerome, The Death of the Automobile (New York: Norton, 1972) p 107 43 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, p 30 44 Enid Arvidson, ‘Remapping Los Angeles, or, Taking the Risk of Class in Postmodern Urban Theory’, Economic Geography, p 135 45 Lauran Pulido, ‘Rethinking Environmental Racism: White Privilege and Urban Development in Southern California’, Annuals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 90, No. 1 (March 2000) pp 12, 15


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government for reshaping the “American ground transportation to serve corporate wants instead of social needs”.46 This quote perfectly sums up Richard O. Davies point, author of The Age of the Asphalt, who views the overreliance upon automobiles as an “unfortunate mistake”. For Davies, the automobile has brought a catalogue of social ills including environmental concerns involving fuel shortages, smog and mass construction; congestion, inefficiency, increase of insurance costs, and appalling accident rates.47 After public disenchantment with highways, where in some cities protests have forced even the abandonment of construction plans and the ‘People Before Highways’ stance, federal aid for mass transit became a priority through an Urban Trust Fund which included a $19 billion program in 1980. The ideal was to reduce growing traffic congestion, use less fuel, and reduce environmental problem with efficient mass transit systems of trains, monorails and trams.48 The history of urban design in the twentieth century moved from a desirability of automobiles and high mobility, to freeway expansion, urban sprawl then decline, to public disenchantment, to finally mass transit funding. It seems that urban design had gone full circle. Highway development, which accommodated the growing automobile industry that now contributes one-sixth of America’s GDP, has introduced enormous changes. The introduction of the Interstate Highway System was the conclusion of twenty-odd years that were devoted to highway development since the Good Roads Movement. A burgeoning roadside economy based primarily on the trucking industry and drive-ins that reinvented existing amnesties for the road and attracted. The social concern of the urban sprawl in pushed further emphasis on an American culture that is dependent on automobiles and that is only recently concerning itself with mass transit. The highway has proved to be very influential since its completion.

Part Two: American Life and Imagery The automobile and its prospering industry from the 1920s relates to the American attachment to power and technology. The automobile essentially freed motorists from the timetables of trolley schedules while at the same time becoming a meaningful image and symbol of American 46 Bradford Snell, ‘American Ground Transport’, U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, The Industrial Reorganisation Act: Hearing before a Subcommittee (1974) 47 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, pp 3, 41 48 Ibid. pp 32-3, 37, 41


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daily life. Model, make, and style of an automobile are viewed as an expression of the status of its owner’s monetary value as well as character, or at least projected character.49 It is hard to argue with the perspective that the automobile was the single innovation of any century that has ‘so profoundly influenced manners, customs, and living habits’.50 It says something about the American culture that has assimilated to an automobile way of life to such an extent that it has become a dominant feature of everyday life. 2.1 Pleasure Trips In Roadside America, by Jack Barth [et al.], the commentary of contemporary American travellers as excitement seekers given a high amount of freedom in a capitalist nation that provides extra money for a carefree and relaxing trip is a straightforward description of the contemporary moment.51 Vacation is the key term and the family car made frequent short pleasure trips possible. The ability of the motorist individual to control the direction and time of their own travel transformed recreational habits of the American nation. The vacation trip is predominantly a highway phenomenon which allows for low cost transportation and convenience. Most vacation trips are usually short in both time and distance.52 Statistics show that of all automobile trips ninety-three percent of them were for outdoor recreation.53 National Parks welcomed the automobile into their landscape because of the recognised political power of the motorised industry. In the 1970s, the decade which first witnessed the benefits of highway development, around one-fourths of all motorists who travelled over a hundred miles from home was for the purposes of outdoor recreation and sightseeing that defines National Park usage. Overcrowding in parks was a concern for officials and environmentalists however it was only present in peak periods of the year. The design of roads that navigated the parks was careful to preserve the natural state at the fullest possible degree. It is also interesting to note that motorists took on a drive-in culture of limited 49 Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America, pp 7-8 50 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, p 133 51 Jack Barth [et al.], Roadside America (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1986) p 9 52 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, pp 138-40 53 Bureau of Public Roads, Highways and Economic and Social Changes (Washington, D.C.: Government Private Office, 1964) p 158


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exits from their vehicles by staying in close proximity to their cars while also spending most of the time in the National Parks inside their vehicles only leaving to visit major visitor centres. Ultimately, the success of the highway to promote automobile touring and the democratic access provided by the automobile was the main reason for the strong public support for the acquisition of protected park lands such as the Yosemite.54 2.2 Daily Life around the Car Freedom of movement affords Americans with greater opportunity for both work and play; eighty-one percent of trips are classified as entertainment and other pleasures.55 However, an underlying criticism is the growing atmosphere of ‘rootlessness’ where people are constantly on the move finding new homes and unwilling to fully settle down. Migration often followed where the job opportunities lied and it also relates to the American rhetoric of ‘folk-wandering’.56 The breakdown of conservative social and moral standards was additionally charged to growing sense of automotive culture, by making it easier for citizens to engage in immoral conduct, especially among the youth. The automobile transformed the codes of dating and courtship, allowing young couples to escape the supervision of parents and neighbours in order to evade moral codes of acceptable social behaviour.57 David L. Lewis stated that ‘cars fulfilled a romantic function from the dawn of the auto age’.58 The automobile, especially through the emergence of Southern California drive-ins in the mid-1920s, became a social essential for teenagers and was viewed as a threat to parental control. The auto makers had indivertibly facilitated sex in cars with innovations such as air-conditioning, heathers and the tilt of the steering wheel. The drive-in industry also sold sex to the youthful public such as the A&W “tray girls” who became attractions for young men in search of sexual adventure. The drive-in theatres, additionally, gained the name of “passion pits” where the shows in the cars matched the screen. However, since the 1970s sexual activities in cars have declined in the United States

54 James J. Flink, The Automobile Age, pp 173-9, 182 55 Bureau of Public Roads, Highways and Economic and Social Changes, p 158 56 John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life, p 144-5 57 Ibid. p 150 58 David L. Lewis, ‘Sex and the Automobile: From Rumble seats to Rockin’ Vans’, David L. Lewis and Laurence Goldstiein (eds.), The Automobile and American Culture (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1983) p 123


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due to the expanding urban sprawl which has limited the availability of safe spots.59 In terms of the architecture of the typical American middle-class house the automobile adapted its design and function. The car, in essence, removed leisure time activities away from the home to outside amnesties and entertainment. The automobile culture turned the requirements of the house to one with needed many rooms into which family members could escape for privacy; becoming more of a dormitory and eliminating specialised functions such as the front porch and the parlour. American architect Frank Lloyd Wright directed the way forward by integrating garages by the mid-1930s, a carport to preserve desired mobility.60 The integration of the driveway which leads directly into the garage from the kitchen turned the American home into an extension of the street. In architectural terms the house had blended into the highway where Americans now live a large part of their lives.61 The automobile culture transformed the daily lives, the social standards of Americans, particularly of the youth culture that is inclined towards the opposite sex and the very design of houses that has accommodated the automobile and the highway. 2.3 Aesthetics and Symbolism Highway transportation, almost unlimited potential of mobility, fits nicely in to the American tradition of individualism.62 This is perhaps the most poignant symbolism of automobiles and highway transportation, however, writers and critics have commented on the aesthetics of highways and the symbolism it represents, often comparing driving through the landscapes as art. The most significant work of social commentary based on highways is America by modern cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard: The point is not to write the sociology or psychology of the car, the point is to drive. That way you learn more about this society than all academia could ever tell you. Baudrillard himself commented on his experiences of travelling on the road and constantly referred to the imagery of highways passing through 59 James J. Flink, The Automobile Age, pp 159-62 60 Folke T. Kihlstedt, ‘The Automobile and the Transformation of the American House, 1910-1935’, David L. Lewis and Laurence Goldstein (eds.), The Automobile and American Culture, pp 162-3 61 James J. Flink, The Automobile Age, p 167 62 Mark S. Foster, From Streetcar to Superhighway: American City Planners and Urban Transportation, 1900-1940 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981) p 91


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the desert at speed, ‘the America of the empty, absolute freedom of freeways’. Speed is a vital part of the highway experience; it ‘creates pure objects... a triumph of effect over cause... [and] instantaneity over time as depth’. Driving at speed, for Baudrillard, produces transparency, invisibility, transversality over perception, a form of amnesia.63 Speed is a common theme when looking at highways from an artistic stance of the visual motion. Travis Brown remarked how with the advent of the Interstate Highways System the American visual landscape became a landscape that is ‘mediated by speed’ and that speed is the essence of the ‘brute power’ of the road itself. Brown stated how driving on highways creates a ‘plastic and sensuous quality’, a distinct sensation of repetition like a time-elapsed film. However, the purest form of speed on the road is found at night where ‘nothing exists outside the space of the road’ and vision is punctuated by artificial colour and light.64 Vivien Arnold observed the state of diminishing peripheral vision, tunnel vision, as a possible example of visual art where only the sky and the roadbed is clear.65 In her essay The Image of the Freeway, Vivien Arnold deals with the issue as to whether highways should be considered either a work of art or architecture. Arnold was certain, however, that highways is the most remarkable feature constructed with in the American landscape. On the one hand, roads embody the mythology of the past while on the other the superhighways reach towards the future.66 Jean Baudrillard commented the textural value of the concrete as remarkable smooth surfaces allowing motorists to simply glide, a sensation of frictionless movement.67 While Lawrence Halprin extends the view of highways as an art form since driving offers adventure, excitement, freedom, while simultaneously providing a unique perception of the landscape: a “chorography of motion”.68 In overall artistic symbolism, highways are, as perceived by Baudrillard, as an extension of America’s hypereality the giant hologram of America’s identity of space and grandeur. Highways, nonetheless, do not ‘de-

63 Jean Baudrillard, America (New York: Veno, 1988) pp 5-9, 28-9 64 Travis Brown, Jr, ‘On an Aesthetic of Highway Speed’, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 30, No. 1 (September 1976) pp 25, 27 65 Vivien Arnold, ‘The Image of the Freeway’, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 30, No. 1 (September 1976) p 28 66 Ibid. pp 28 67 Jean Baudrillard, America, p 54 68 Lawrence Halprin, Freeways (New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1966)


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nature’ the urban or rural landscape they only pass through it.69 Vivien Arnold contributes by perceiving highways as the contemporary archetype of the American affection towards isolation and solitary, a mobile experience of personal freedom since it is the car that is the real environment; an enclosed shell that eliminates contact with distracting outside elements.70 Finally, the highway vividly represents the American adventure experience, travelling for the sake of movement, discovery, to see new places and new people; seeing the country.71 Highways offer a visual motion that can be perceived as uniquely artistic by providing a different form of perception that is available to those wh drive on its long concrete surfaces while also presenting an interpretation of American identity. 2.4 Art and Music Influences Highways have had the potential to influence traditional art forms, from photography, to literature, and music. The road, as described by Travis Brown, is generally uncommunicative but for deliberate messages on labels that occur near exit or intersections of the highway; “food, fuel, lodging”; “slippery when wet”; “stay alert”; “pay toll one mile”. The surface of the highways is laden by stylish, clean, and bright white and yellow road markings that arrange themselves as it passes underneath the moving vehicle. The markings are ‘elongated, uncluttered, and attractively decorative’.72 The visual symbols of signs and marking provide both a poetic and artistic quality that this section will address using particular examples. Few artists can be so identifiable to Los Angeles, the city of highways, but British born artist David Hockney is one of them who permanently moved there in 1978. He was entranced by the sense of hedonism, the climate, the ocean, and the well-tended landscape. Hockney is equally fascinated with photography as well as painting, drawing, and printmaking.73 In a review of his photographic collection, John Meany 69 Jean Baudrillard, America (New York: Veno, 1988) pp 8, 28-9 70 Vivien Arnold, ‘The Image of the Freeway’, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 30, No. 1, p 28 71 Edited by Karl Raitz, A Guide to the National Road (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996) pp 12-3 72 Travis Brown, Jr, ‘On an Aesthetic of Highway Speed’, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 30, No., p 27 73 Bernard Weinraub, ‘Enticed by Light; From David Hockney, a Show of Photocollages in Los Angeles’, The New York Times (August 15, 2001) pp 1-3


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commented on the artist’s jigsaw-making fun and attempt to rebel against the over-formality of photographs. Hockney’s experiments with fragmentation in his work were his attempt to break away from the static composite which is apparent in the medium.74 The most famous of his photomontages is Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April, 1986. The work is an assembled collage of photographs of a desert highway layered one upon another.75 Shots taken at different vantage points the content is compacted horizontally towards the centre with road signs on the right and cactuses on the left leading the viewers eyes towards a perspective point of the road dropping off the horizon into the mountains ahead. Signs depicting “Stop” are used twice on the roadside and once in the immediate foreground. What is significant about this work of art is the sense of movement projected by incoherent edges that overlaps what cannot be seen. It relates closely to the aforementioned aesthetic of speed which is a strong part of the highway image.

74 John Meany, ‘Hockney’s Photographs, Dougles Hyde Gallery, Dublin 4 October–10 November 1984’, Circa Art Magazine, No. 19 (November-December 1984) pp 24-5 75 Bernard Weinraub, ‘Enticed by Light; From David Hockney, a Show of Photocollages in Los Angeles’, The New York Times, pp 4


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The Grapes of Wrath (1939) by famous writer John Steinbeck is a migration story set during the time of the Dust Bowl, as a family moved across the nation from Oklahoma to California. Within the wider context of the Great Depression where many Americans migrated to find work, in this book the environment followed the road of the infamous highway Route 66. For Steinbeck Highway 66 is the ‘main migrant road’: 66- the long concrete path across the country, waving gently up and down on the map, from Mississippi to Bakersfield... 66 is the path of a people in flight.76 Like the aesthetic commentators in the preceding section, John Steinbeck also described the visual aspect of the highway as a ‘concrete road [that] shone like a mirror under the sun, and in the distance the heat made it seem that there were pools of water in the road’ while at night there were ‘dancing beams of [car] flashlights’. The sense of tranquillity is what Steinbeck seems to project when describing the road, a tranquillity to calm the 50,000 car migration movement that ‘crawled like bugs’.77 The landscape around the road was equally important in The Grapes of Wrath with roads ‘edged with a mat of trangled, broken, dry grass’ over

76 John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (London: Pan Book Ltd, 1975) p 126 77 Ibid. pp 130, 213, 386


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‘red lands and grey lands’.78 Edges of towns presented a site of automobile decay with: used-car yards, the wreck yards, the garages with blazoned signs – Used Cars, food Used Cars, Cheap transportation, three trailers, 27 Ford, Clean. Checked cars, guaranteed cars, Free radio, Car with 100 gallons of petrol free.79 In a way that is reminiscent with rhythmic poetry, John Steinbeck described road signs with a repetition beat, no descriptors simple words that stream across the page like the viewpoint of the passenger watching constant signs streaming past. Steinbeck’s subject in his book is not necessarily based about the adventures of the Joad family, to which the narrative follows, so much as the social conditions that surround them and the highway is used a feature to ground these themes. Peter Lisca reviews the cross reference of details, symbols, and dramatisation that occurs as a method to make the novel seem more “scenic”; a form of “pictorial stance”.80 The application of the highway is used to provide something sure, something permanent; a path to the Promised Land of Califoria’s coastal mountains as squatters and hitchhikers drink whiskey, ‘scuttling for work’ and ‘scrabbling to live’.81 John Steinbeck used Route 66 as a literally device to represent sureness within a time of uncertainty. In a discussion about highways in the context of art, the medium of music cannot be over looked with the popular music world saturated by many examples of references to the road. The rhythm and speed of driving can be strongly related to music with songs that vilify, glorify, or simply describe the journey experience to the listener. The constant theme in road songs is the American ideal of individual freedom and escapism.82 A quintessential genre which the highway is strongly related to is rock music. Rock has a non rational, Dionysian appeal that depends on the power and rhythm of the piece, while loudness is a key component. The desired aim of this music genre is to affect the listener’s body directly, to create a visceral or somatic psychological response. The rock player’s techniques are generally natural as apposed to polished and mechanical. This fits with the brute force of the highway, which is noting to do with 78 Ibid. pp 19, 126, 79 Ibid. p 67 80 Peter Lisca, ‘The Grapes of Wrath as Fiction’, PLMA, Vol. 72, No. 1 (March 1957) p 300 81 John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, p 344 82 Vivien Arnold, ‘The Image of the Freeway’, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp 29-30


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balletic sensations. Rock music, importantly, is very often used as a background accompaniment to other activities, such as driving which is why rock music is often the genre that resonates strongly with the movement highway.83 Perhaps the most well known song that features melodies of the highway is Born to Be Wild (1969) by Steppenwolf and the flag-ship song of the most well known motorcycle movie Easy Rider. From the off, the music attacks the listener with load acoustics and drums setting off the mood of something big and exciting. The first words are sung with a rusty shouting voice: Get your motor running Head out on the highway Looking for adventure In whatever comes our way These lines state what is important to the band, going out on to the road and searching for adventure. This theme of adventure and exploration is what resonates most with the highway, the sense of going somewhere new and what is explored in numerous songs. The final lines of the song ‘Like a true nature’s child. We were born. Born to be to Wild’ exerts the popular culture of the 1960s that exerted a trend against conformity, a them of rebellion for the young that broke down conservative social values explained in Part II.84 A rock song that uses the automobile as a metaphor for sex is Start Me Up (1976) by the famous British rock group Rolling Stones. If you start me up If you start me up I'll never stop I've been running hot You got me ticking gonna blow my top Lyrics, essentially shouted by lead singer Mick Jagger, uses the sexual aspect of the car as a way to portray the sexual aspect of his “engined” body that can’t stop when it is started that needs the spread of oil and gasoline. Start Me Up is less about the road than it is about people while using the automobile as a device to express sexual desire.85 Another style of music that often uses the highway as a lyrical device is the archetypal American genre, the black music, of Motown. Originated by Bery Gordy and his session band members of Earl Van Dyke, James 83 Stephen Davies, ‘Rock versus Classical Music’, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Spring 1999) pp 193-4, 196-7 84 Steppenwolf, ‘Born to Be Wild’, The Best of Steppenwolf: Born to Be Wild (c.d.), Track 1 (Universal/Island: March 1999) 85 Rolling Stones, ‘Start Me Up’, Rolling Stones: Forty Licks (c.d.), Disc 2, Track 1 (UMTV: September 2005)


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Jamerson and Benny Benjamin, Motown took black music and introduced it successfully to the white American teenager. Motown music is defined by dynamic and communal elements that stems from a background in gospel. Constructed with fast tempo, with a call-response rhythm, expressive vocal tones, repetition, and hand-clapping and foot-tapping to create the catchy tunes that made Mowtown so popular.86 Hit the Road Jack (1960), written by Percy Mayfield and famously covered by Ray Charles, is a song about relationships where a girl wants to push away the Jack of the title: ‘Hit the road Jack and don't you come back no more’. With a call-response quality with the backing singers and smooth musical beat, the repetition of order of ‘Hit the road’ gives a sense of a journey out of Jack’s hand forced out of an environment he has saturated and he moves on to the next destination. A sense of freedom is therefore suggested on Jack’s part being able to ‘pack my things and go’.87 Another Motown song covered by Wilson Pickett, Mustang Sally (1966), is similar to Start Me Up in that an automobile is used as a metaphor to describe the fast Sally who is hard to keep up with. You been runnin' all over town, now Oh, I guess I have to put your flat feet On the ground All you wanna do is ride around Sally The use of the car as a device to characterise the tendencies of Sally is an interesting one, especially when using a mustang as an adjective since it is perceived as a young man’s car and that is the point ‘Mustang Sally’ is the ultimate male desire, such is the desire to go on the road.88 In a different paced African American music genre, Get Your Kicks on Route 66 (1946) a Jazz rendition penned by Booby Troup while he was driving west to seek fame and fortune in Los Angeles via the famous route. One of the most popular road songs ever written, it became a prime force driving the international popularity of the highway with the cover by Jazz legend Nat King Cole. It also led the pronunciation of “root” rather than the typical American wording of “rout”.89

86 Jon Fitzgerald, ‘Motown Crossover Hits 1963-1966 and the Creative Process’, Popular Music, Vol. 14, No. 1 (January 1995) pp 1, 3-4 87 Ray Charles, ‘Hit the Road Jack’, The Definitive Ray Charles (c.d.), Disc 1, Track 21 (WSM: September 2005) 88 Wilson Picket, ‘Mustang Sally’, Wilson Pickett’s Greatest Hits (c.d.), Track 7 (Rhino: October 1990) 89 Jamie Jensen, Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways, Third Edition (California: Avalon Travel, 2002) p 855


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If you ever plan to motor west, Travel my way, take the highway that is best. Get your kicks on route sixty-six Using the slow rhythm of Jazz music in the background the lyrics provides a slower paced drive that is not common with other road songs. This seems to suggest the longevity of embarking on a trip on Route 66 while giving it the time it deserves to travel westwards like the millions over the past two centuries. Using the steady beat as a base Nat King Cole recites the destinations on the way from ‘Chicago to L.A.’: ‘Now you go through Saint Luis Joplin, Missouri, And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty. You see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona’. This recitation is similar to the technique used by John Steinbeck when he lists off the road signs in the Grapes of Wrath.90 Another artist that used the recitation technique is the brooding Country singer Johnny Cash who covered Geoff Mack’s song I’ve Been Everywhere in 1996. In a song that varies in tempo, starting off slow before getting into an intense pace that lasts the rest of the song, I’ve Been Everywhere seems almost humorous in the way that Cash recites where he’s been at an incessant speed; which seems like everywhere in America. I've been to: Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana, Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana, Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa, Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa, The list goes on accompanied by fast a repetitious guitar strumming that embodies the turning wheels of the automobile before repeating the chorus: I’ve been everywhere man I’ve been everywhere man Cross the deserts bare man I’ve breathed the mountain air man Of travel I’ve had my share man It was quite suitable for Johnny Cash to sing this song when he was in his sixties because considering his life story a sense of wisdom is parted in this song that suggests a life time of travelling on the road.91 The highway has produced an influential theme for artists and popular culture art mediums. David Hockney’s photomontage suggests the fragmentation of the environment that is there to be explored when viewing the overlapping photographs; the road is the only sure and concrete element in the picture. This sense of solidarity of the highway is 90 Nat King Cole, ‘Get Your Kicks on Route 66’, The Very Best of Nat King Cole (c.d.), Disc 2, Track 2 (Not Now Music: January 2008) 91 Johnny Cash, ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’, Ring of Fire: The Legend of Johnny Cash (c.d.), Track 16 (Island: November 2005)


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also expressed in John Steinbeck’s the Grapes of Wrath where narrative events present the uncertainty of the Great Depression. All the songs that have been listed have one thing in common, a sense of freedom while additionally touching on themes of travelling, sex, and relationships. The highway exerts feelings of adventure and spontaneity that transcends all the art mediums.

Part III: Kerouac, Captain America and the 66 This thesis has so far explored the origins of highway in the twentieth century and its economic impact, the role of the automobile and the improved networks of roads in transforming the customs Americans and the aesthetics and art influences the highway resonates. This part will therefore focus on very particular case studies that have proved very popular in American culture. Firstly, a detailed analysis of the Jack Kerouac’s influential journal will be presented with its literal content. Secondly, the themes that presents themselves in the most popular of art form’s cinema, in particular the road movies where Easy Rider will be the main reference point. Finally, this thesis will end with a case study of Route 66 the most famous of all highways and its quirky components. 3.1 Kerouac on the Road Scribed on a long roll of teletype paper over the period of three weeks Jack Kerouac was high on Benzedrine, On the Road (1957) is a vivid and detailed documentation of Kerouac’s adventures across America where he encounters random people including Dean, girls, and an environment containing jazz and drugs.92 The ultimate theme of this book is the freedom the road affords, with no place to call home, and an uncompromising approach to life. Mobility is certainly a central theme in mainstream American culture, equal almost to the idea of the “American Dream”, and it is definitely what Jack Kerouac’s novel emphasises as it fits into the pioneer image of America’s past.93 It was my dream that screwed up, the stupid hearthside idea that it would be wonderful to follow one, great red line across America instead of trying various roads and routes.94 92 Howard Cunnel, ‘Fast This Time’, Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll (New York: Viking Penguin, 2007) p 1 93 Tim Cresswell, ‘Mobility as Resistance: A Geographical Reading of Kerouac’s “On the Road”’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 18, No. 2 (1993) p 249


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Kerouac commented on the spontaneity of travelling on the road where plans are there to be made and dismantled with unerring regularity. It is not Kerouac that controls his destination it is the road, the highway, and his encounters that those so. This is poetic freedom in its fullest. Non-stop going for the sake of it is the main joy for Kerouac and his friend with a format of events that features the growing delusion of places and the fascination with hitting the road to the next destination.95 The pattern is set with the excitement of a new city that is overwhelming: ‘spending most of my money, and didn’t give a damn, just as long as I’d be in that damned Chicago tomorrow’. Then comes a period of exploration, where in this case it is self-refectory: ‘the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, that I didn’t know who I was. I wasn’t scared, I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life... I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future’. Finally, a sense of sadness and dejection is found before the pattern is rewound: ‘Detroit is actually one of the worst towns possible in America... what the hell are we doing in Detroit?---and it grew cold’.96 The aesthetics are one of the defining elements of Jack Kerouac’s novel, able to describe the detail of environments, not just the look but the feel of things also; what they mean to him. Route Six came from the wilderness, wound around a traffic circle and disappeared again into the wilderness. Somewhere far across gloomy crazy New York was throwing up its cloud of dust and brown steam. The L.A. night. What brutal, hot, siren-whining nights they are. L.A. is the loneliest and most brutal. I preferred reading the American landscape as we went along. Every bump, rise and stretch mystified my longing.97 The details are not what are important for Kerouac it is the emotion they evoke for him; from going into the wilderness away from modernity to the dirtiness of 1950s New York and the hot brutality of Los Angeles. However the American landscape holds a beauty for Kerouac as he watches it past his side window, not looking ahead into the distance, the present is what matters to him and is reflective of the attitude of his journey without thought of the future. 94 Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll, p 116 95 Tim Cresswell, ‘Mobility as Resistance: A Geographical Reading of Kerouac’s “On the Road”’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 18, No. 2, p 254 96 Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll, pp 117, 120, 343, 345 97 Ibid. pp 116, 181, 187, 207


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As touched on earlier in this thesis, sexuality fits hand in hand with the automobile and the freedom of the highway and that fact is presented in On the Road, in blunt communication, as Kerouac ‘tried everything in the books to make a girl’.98 Kerouac presents himself as a modern-day Casanova figure with a lack of commitment to traditional forms of sexual relationships. Kerouac and his friend Dean constantly meet and leave women throughout their adventures, leaving before getting involved. In fact, every city is connected to a woman who is courted and then discarded.99 Kerouac’s descriptions of women are suitably erotic in nature when considering his sexual appetite and episodes without female companionship: I saw the cutest little Mexican girl in slacks. Her breasts stuck out straight and true; her little flanks looked delicious; her hair was long and black; and her eyes were great big blue things with a soul in it.100 Like the spontaneous movement by travelling on the road, not involving himself in a committed relationship seems to be Kerouac’s ideal of freedom; nothing to hold him down, no permanent home, no permanent woman. Another aspect of Jack Kerouac’s novel is the use of it as a vessel for original social commentary. Kerouac writes about America’s social state, the generalisation of America as a country and the people of the nation. Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk – real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious. I began to realise that everybody in America is a natural born thief. Until you learn to realise the importance of the Banana King you will know absolutely nothing about the human interests of the world. Furthermore we know America, were at home; I can go anywhere in America and get what I want because it’s the same in every corner, I know people, I know what they do.101 These are Jack Kerouac’s truths, an insightful way he views his surroundings. All he has learned about his America is by travelling on the road, experiencing his continent, just as Jean Baudrillard suggested when 98 Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll, pp 175 99 Tim Cresswell, ‘Mobility as Resistance: A Geographical Reading of Kerouac’s “On the Road”’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp 257-8 100 Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll, p 183 101 Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll, pp 159, 174, 222


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he said that you can learn all you can about America by driving along the highways. In his essay Mobility as Resistance, Tim Cresswell notices a subtle, yet, apparent relation to the music styles of jazz and bop. According to Cresswell On the Road is a literal expression of ‘experience and feeling’ which is related to the “Beat Generation”; an alienated and “hip” youth of post Second World War and pre-Vietnam period, before the inception of the “hippy” subculture. The construction of the chosen discourse is itself a structural metaphor for jazz music. Passages contain cadences and rhythm, like the songs mentioned above. The zigzagging of the narrative is equated by the zigzagging of the language.102 An example of this rhythm, the recitation common in the musical lyrics and the Grapes of Wrath is the following passage: Everybody looked like a broken-down movie extra, a withered starlet; - disenchanted stunt-men, midget auto racers, poignant California characters... Casanovish men, puffy-eyed motel blondes, hustlers, pimps, whores, masseurs, bell hops103 There is perhaps nothing coincidental about this; a sense of repetition of tone, a rhythmic pace, that is associated with highway and popular culture; the repetitious photographs to make David Hockney’s Pearblossom Highway, John Steinbeck, the lyrics of Johnny Cash, and now Jack Kerouac. The highway seems to promote a certain repetitious and rhythmical nature within artists that associate themselves with highways. On the Road has become a legend within American counter culture, usually found behind the cash register counter of independent book stores. Urban legend has it that the book is one of the most frequently stolen books in the United States along with the Bible. Jack Kerouac seems to inspire outlaw tendencies that has spread across generations.104 The rebellion against conservative values that the title represents is what the image of highway is all about within the vernacular of popular culture; a display of the individual’s confrontation with society.105 3.2 Captain America and Billy the Kid on their Bikes 102 Tim Cresswell, ‘Mobility as Resistance: A Geographical Reading of Kerouac’s “On the Road”’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp 253, 256 103 Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll, p 272 104 Penny Vlagopoulos, ‘Rewriting America’, Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll, p 53 105 Vivien Arnold, ‘The Image of the Freeway’, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 30, No. 1, p 29


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In American culture the road has always been a persistent theme which is included in the cannon of the frontier ethos. Road movies have the ability to project the American Western mythology on to the landscape which is traversed and bound by the highways of the nation.106 For Manohla Dargis the road movie is a modern continuation of the popular Western as the ‘road defines the space between town and country. It is an empty expanse, a tabula rasa, the last true frontier’ in an age of modernity.107 Road movies, therefore, represents a sense of romanticism while also touching on the theme of alienation, like Kerouac’s subculture, against the uniform identity of America’s mainstream society.108 The movie that highlights the above themes the best is the 1969 film Easy Rider, produced by Peter Fonder, directed by Dennis Hopper, and staring both actors in the two leads. Easy Rider is best described as a motorcycle film and a latter-day Western. It is prided as the first movie to successfully celebrate and capture the conflict between the tribal, hippy, and drug-oriented generation of the 1960s and their mainstream opposites.109 The film opens up with just the bare sound of motorcycle engines and a hot New Mexico landscape. Beginning with a slow pace Easy Rider follows the two leads as they complete a drug deal transaction. Afterwards, the film begins, and sustains, an electric pace that lasts the rest of the picture with the introduction of the rock song Born to Be Wild which accompanies a wide shot of a highway racing towards the screen.110 Film is the only art medium that is able to synthesise both the speed of the highway, the aesthetic of the tunnel vision, and the rock sounds that fit perfectly with that speed. In a desert landscape, that is sentimentally empty, the vision of two men on shiny chromium machines that dissects the emptiness is a stirring sight. The landscapes in this movie are typically Western and Easy Rider plays on this imagery. The scene where a motorcycle needs a tyre change is made in a barn is beautifully poetic when at the same time, and in the camera shot, a horseshoe is placed on the hoof of the animal by 106 Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, ‘Introduction’, Edited by Steve Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, The Road Movie Book (London: Routledge, 1997) p 1 107 Manahola Dargis, ‘Roads to Freedom’, Sight and Sound 3 (1991) p 16 108 Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, ‘Introduction’, Edited by Steve Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, The Road Movie Book, p 1 109 Harriet R. Polt, ‘Review: Easy Rider’, Film Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Autumn 1969) p 22 110 Easy Rider (Columbia Pictures, dir. Dennis Hopper, 1969)


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farmers; man’s modern form of the horse is contrasted by the real thing used by cowboys.111 Easy Rider is atypical of road movies that continue the tradition of the American Western genre with the projection of dominant masculinity that is inherent in persisting underlying conceptualizations of the American national identity.112 Peter Fonder plays Wyatt who exudes a ‘romantic aura’ as a driven and lonely, yet generous character; nicknamed after the popular comic book hero Captain America, Wyatt is the modern variation of the

classic movie frontier hero.113 Dennis Hopper himself, on the other hand, is the classic frontier hero in both presentation and individualism. Dressed in attire that is reminiscent of a ranchman, complete with a Stetson cowboy hat, Billy self-proclaims himself as “Billy the Kid” a sort of renewed spiritual projection of the cowboy legend who rebelled against authority. The principle theme of the Easy Rider is the idea of breaking away from modernity, to strip back the material, and just be oneself on the road. The 111 Ibid. 112 Shari Roberts, ‘Western Meets Eastwood: Genre and gender on the road’, Edited by Steve Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, The Road Movie Book, pp 45 113 Harriet R. Polt, ‘Review: Easy Rider’, Film Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 1, p 24


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interstate highways are metaphorically used as a construct for where one can be and find their true selves, the romantic notion of ultimate freedom, and a theme that is also apparent in On the Road. Shari Roberts commented on the fact that within the road movie genre ‘the road stands in for the frontier... it simply asks over and over, as each mile marker has passed, what does America mean today?’. The highway therefore becomes a structuring device for internal journeys through physical wanderings.114 The America that Easy Rider projects on the screen is the subculture that emerged during the 1960s. The first example is the nomadic “hippy” culture that emerged in tandem with the social concurrent of environmentalism. Wyatt and Billy picked up a hitchhiker, a Californian trying to escape the mundane conformity of a clerk’s life, who introduces them to a gentle community in search of self-sustainment. The highway led the two main characters to possibly their version of attained freedom; Wyatt himself once earlier praised a farmer for his acquired attainment: You got a good set up here. I mean it. Not every man who can live off the land you know. Do your own thing in your own time... You should be proud. The hippy community seemed to offer what Wyatt and Billy was searching for but they turned the backs on it, still preferring the allure of freedom and mobility on the highway. Near the film’s end Wyatt ambiguously proclaims “We blew it”, it is possible that he was talking about the missed opportunity that the community offered.115 A further representation of the freedom that the road offers is embodied by George, a drunken young aristocrat who yearns after vices, played by Jack Nicholson. He plays a pivotal part in the message that is prominent in the road movie genre; the contrasting positions of conservative values and rebellious desires.116 In a country that has prided itself on individual speech and freedom – although throughout American history that has hardly been the case – George questions the attitude of mainstream society after they experienced severe bigotry in a country diner. This used to be a hell of a good country. I don’t understand what’s going on. Oh, they’re not get scared of you [Wyatt and Billy]. They scared of what you represent to them. Freedom. Talking about it

114 Shari Roberts, ‘Western Meets Eastwood: Genre and gender on the road’, Edited by Steve Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, The Road Movie Book, pp 52-3 115 Easy Rider 116 David Laderman, ‘What a Trip: The Road Film and American Culture’, Journal of Film and Video 48, 1-2 (1996)


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and being it, it’s two different things. I mean it’s real hard to be free when you are brought and sold on the market place.117 George suggests that they three are not meant for the mainstream. Their home is not of the everyman where people can only dream of being free enough to uncompromisingly be themselves. Their home is the road, and freedom in affords for those who live on it. Soon after making this sweeping statement George is then fatally wounded in a brutal attack by the men in the diner. They specifically singled him because he was a turncoat, an aristocrat who gave in to the urge to be free. At the end of the film Wyatt and Billy are killed by common country men while driving on the road simply because of the look of their hair. Easy Rider had become an iconic film that resonate the appeal of the highway while simultaneously representing the sub-culture of America that appeared during the “Summer of Love” in the 1960s. Although the picture continued the characteristic thread of freedom, sex, and rhythm, it is the only material so far examined in this thesis that has predominantly presented a strong Western rhetoric that is strongly apparent with the highway; the last remnants of a frontier ethos and pioneering spirit in American tradition. 3.3 The Migrant Road of the 66 Route 66, also known as the ‘mother road’ while termed as the ‘migrant road’ in John Steinbeck’s the Grapes of Wrath, the famous American highway starts in Chicago to Santa Monica, built in 1926. Encompassing 2,488 miles, Route 66 ‘passes through the heart of the United States’ and some of the nation’s most archetypal roadside scenery. The route meanders through small towns across the Midwest and Southwest.118 This section of the thesis will highlight points of interests along this route and how they fit in to the highway vernacular. Today, Route 66 has managed maintain a nostalgic and mystic appeal of the open road where travel journalist Jo Gardner tells of how the driving down the highway in an American Rambler convertible reminded him of ‘simpler, halcyon days when technology’s grip was still very much part of the future’. Gardner described the ‘fiery red sunsets’, retro signs, and old gas stations and 1950s diners with menus containing burgers and

117 Easy Rider 118 Jamie Jensen, Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways, Third Edition, p 834


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milkshakes, accompanied by rock n’ roll.119 The highway has become a strong part of

American popular culture with books and songs that highlights its iconic status.120 Cadillac Ranch, a stretch of land that parallels the highway, west of Amarillo, Texas, features ten classic Caddie automobiles, rusting and covered in graffiti paint, are half buried nose down in the dirt. The art installation was created in 1974 by artists of the art group Ant Farm, Hudson Marquez, Chip Lord, and Doug Michaels, based in San Francisco and commissioned by Amarillo helium millionaire Stanley Marsh III. The ten Caddies features tail fins that charts the design changes in the make from 1949 to 1964.121 March III commissioned this art piece because the car, in particularly the Cadillac, and the road, Route 66, were monuments to the American dream. The cars were not planted haphazardly, all uniformly angled vertically at around 80 degrees (the exact angles of the Great Pyramid), in order to represent an intelligent civilization.122 Cadillac

119 Jo Garnder, ‘North America: Route 66’ part of ‘Great Drives’, National Geographic Traveller (March/April 2011) p 69 120 Michael Wallis, Route 66: The Mother Road (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin) p v 121 Jamie Jensen, Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways, Third Edition, p 870


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Ranch permanently positions the automobile in the highway landscape by suggesting that cars are the seeds of the land and therefore belongs to it. In a visual representation of sexual liberation that the highway symbolises, Exotic World home of the world’s only museum dedicated to the profession of striptease dancing. Materials that fill the rooms of Dixie Lee Evans’ ranch house, herself being a former burlesque dancer made famous for her striptease impersonations of Marilyn Monroe, gives each visitor personally guided tours of the collection that includes: posters, photos, props and elaborate costumes. Located in Helendale, California, Exotic World is neither seedy nor licentious, but rather a fun, energetic and illuminating place.123 The museum is not only a depiction of the sex associated with the highway, but also a sort of social study of an American society which is home to hyperreality and the ‘brutally naive’.124 Finally with the frontier theme, the Maramec Caverns roadside attraction of limestone caves and features heavily on billboards in the nearby town of Stanton, Missouri. Developed during the Civil War, when the saltpetre was mined for manufacturing gunpowder, the caves were later used as a venue for local farmers to get together for dances. The largest cave is still occasionally used for Easter Sunrise services, crafts shows, and chamber of commerce meetings. The Maramec Caverns were opened as a tourist attraction in 1935 by Lester Drill where fact and fiction entwine including the legend of Jesse James’ use of a hideout. Within the natural setting, however, a crude sound-and-light show is performed ending with Kate Smith’s rendition of God Bless America.125 The caverns help reprieve the Western rhetoric by allowing visitors to experience a Western past after driving on the present frontier. Interpreting the functions and themes of the road through attractions on Route 66, provides further evidence of discussed elements that highways offer. The art installation of Cadillac Ranch establishes physical connection between automobiles and the American landscape on the roadside; Exotic World presents a touristic view of the underlying sexual nature that the highway emits; while the Maramec Caverns continues the 122 Stanley Marsh III, ‘A Route 66 Portrait’, Michael Wallis, Route 66: The Mother Road, p 131 123 Jamie Jensen, Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways, Third Edition, p 841 124 Jean Baudrillard, America, p 28 125 Jamie Jensen, Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s Two-Lane Highways, Third Edition, p 888-9


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institutionalised tradition of the frontier myth in to the modernity of the highway.

Conclusion Highways in America helped to fuel a society that has become attached to the automobile and the freedoms that come with it. From its concluding construction in the 1960s, highways offered American’s a modern version of the frontier ethos, a sense of exploration and adventure while providing a pattern of rhythm and repetition in aesthetics and popular culture. This thesis has explained why the highway is so prominent in the shaping of the United States and thus deserves adequate attention. The origins of the highway emerged out of the necessity of better roads to accompany the growing automobile industry that emerged in 1920s America as the nation assimilated the car in to their lives. Highways had three primary functions to fulfil; access to property; to carry local traffic; and arterial highways to connect traffic from intercommunity to long distance. The Interstate Highway System completed the policy of a national network of roads and is in fact a product of the strengthening of Federalism in American politics. The construction of highways provided economic benefits that come with increased mobility, particularly the motels, shopping malls and drive-ins of which McDonalds has become a global phenomenon. However, the highways changed the design and construction of numerous cities that experienced urban sprawl, along with the disadvantages of congestion, pollution, and environmental racism. In recent years these negatives have pushed local governments to invest in improved public transportation services, an indirect result of the highway. The automobile freed motorists from the timetables of public transportation schedules while at the same time becoming a meaningful image and symbol of American daily life. The highway had come to facilitate the automobile culture. The common activity of pleasure trips, short excursions done on and individual nature is one feature of American life that has originated simply because of increased mobility with national parks becoming chief beneficiaries. Conservative moral codes of social behaviour was also broken as the car became a must have for teenagers who partook in sexual adventure as cars offered an escape from social values. The home also took on a transformation with architecture that revolved around the car with the establishment of garages and elimination of the porch and parlour in architectural design. The aesthetics of the highway is important to social commentators and artists alike. Speed is the identifiable theme which exerts a feeling of transparency and invisibility while creating a plastic and sensuous quality to the visual experience. The ability of the road to create a poetic and


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artistic quality in popular culture is another aspect discussed in this thesis. From David Hockney’s repetitious photographs; to John Steinbeck’s use of the highway as a metaphor of sureness within a narrative of uncertainty; and then the road songs that focused on repetition and rhythm of the road through music and lyrics. Finally the themes of the frontier, freedom, social conflict, sex, and adventure are explored in the case studies of On the Road, Easy Rider, and the attractions on Route 66. It is these concurrent themes that are apparent on the road, the highway, as it proved itself to be the most affecting instrument in shaping the image of the American landscape and culture.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Part I Lloyd Aldrich, The Economy of Freeways: City of Los Angeles (Street and Parkway Design Division, 1953) Hilaire Belloc, The Road (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1924) Richard O. Davis, The Age of Asphalt: The Automobile, the Freeway, and the Condition of Metropolitan America (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincolt Company, 1975) Owen D. Gutfreund, 20th Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) Maldwyn A. Jones, The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1922, Second Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995) John B. Rae, The Road and the Car in American Life (Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1971) Robert D. Albritton, ‘American Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations’, Edited by Gillian Peele [et al], Developments in American Politics 5 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) Ann Fetter Friedlaender, The Interstate Highway System: A Study in Public Investment (Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company, 1965) Mark Howard Rose, Express Highway Politics, 1939-1956 (Ph.D. dissertation: Ohio State University, 1973) U.S. Department of Transportation, 1968 National Highway Needs Report


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(Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Ofice, 1968) Ellen Dunham-Jones, ‘75%: The Next Big Architectural Project’, William S. Saunders (ed.) Sprawl and Suburbia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005) Robert More Fisher, The Postwar Boon in Hotels and Motels (Royal Ship: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 1965) David Gebhard and Robert Winter, Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide (Utah: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1994) Alan Hess, ‘The origins of McDonald’s Golden Arches’, Journal Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 45, No.1 (March 1986) pp 60-7 Gordon McKay, ‘Highway Transportation’, Annuals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol.116 (November 1924) pp 127-132 Jennifer Price, ‘Looking for Nature at the Mall: A Field Guide to the Nature Company’, Edited by William Cronon, Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1996)

Urban Development in Southern California’, Annuals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 90, No. 1 (March 2000) pp 12-40 Enid Arvidson, ‘Remapping Los Angeles, or, Taking the Risk of Class in Postmodern Urban Theory’, Economic Geography, Vol. 75, No.2 (April 1999) Mike Davis, ‘Ozzie and Harriet in Hell: On the Decline of Inner Suburbs’, William S. Saunders (ed.), Sprawl and Suburbia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005) James J. Flink, The Automobile Age (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1990) John Jerome, The Death of the Automobile (New York: Norton, 1972) Lauran Pulido, ‘Rethinking Environmental Racism: White Privilege and Urban Development in Southern California’, Annuals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 90, No. 1 (March 2000) Bradford Snell, ‘American Ground Transport’, U.S. Congress, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, The Industrial Reorganisation Act: Hearing before a Subcommittee (1974) Part II Bureau of Public Roads, Highways and Economic and Social Changes (Washington, D.C.: Government Private Office, 1964) Jack Barth [et al.], Roadside America (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.,


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1986) Mark S. Foster, From Streetcar to Superhighway: American City Planners and Urban Transportation, 1900-1940 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981) Folke T. Kihlstedt, ‘The Automobile and the Transformation of the American House, 1910-1935’, David L. Lewis and Laurence Goldstein (eds.), The Automobile and American Culture David L. Lewis, ‘Sex and the Automobile: From Rumble seats to Rockin’ Vans’, David L. Lewis and Laurence Goldstiein (eds.), The Automobile and American Culture (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1983) Vivien Arnold, ‘The Image of the Freeway’, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 30, No. 1 (September 1976) pp 28-30 Jean Baudrillard, America (New York: Veno, 1988) Travis Brown, Jr, ‘On an Aesthetic of Highway Speed’, Journal of Architectural Education, Vol. 30, No. 1 (September 1976) pp 25-7 Lawrence Halprin, Freeways (New York: Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1966) Peter Lisca, ‘The Grapes of Wrath as Fiction’, PLMA, Vol. 72, No. 1 (March 1957) pp 296-309

John Meany, ‘Hockney’s Photographs, Dougles Hyde Gallery, Dublin 4 October–10 November 1984’, Circa Art Magazine, No. 19 (NovemberDecember 1984) pp 24-6 Bernard Weinraub, ‘Enticed by Light; From David Hockney, a Show of Photocollages in Los Angeles’, The New York Times (August 15, 2001) John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (London: Pan Book Ltd, 1975) Stephen Davies, ‘Rock versus Classical Music’, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 57, No. 2 (Spring 1999) pp 193-204 Jon Fitzgerald, ‘Motown Crossover Hits 1963-1966 and the Creative Process’, Popular Music, Vol. 14, No. 1 (January 1995) Jamie Jensen, Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America’s TwoLane Highways, Third Edition (California: Avalon Travel, 2002) Ray Charles, ‘Hit the Road Jack’, The Definitive Ray Charles (c.d.), Disc 1, Track 21 (WSM: September 2005) Johnny Cash, ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’, Ring of Fire: The Legend of Johnny


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Cash (c.d.), Track 16 (Island: November 2005) Nat King Cole, ‘Get Your Kicks on Route 66’, The Very Best of Nat King Cole (c.d.), Disc 2, Track 2 (Not Now Music: January 2008) Wilson Picket, ‘Mustang Sally’, Wilson Pickett’s Greatest Hits (c.d.), Track 7 (Rhino: October 1990) Steppenwolf, ‘Born to Be Wild’, The Best of Steppenwolf: Born to Be Wild (c.d.), Track 1 (Universal/Island: March 1999) Rolling Stones, ‘Start Me Up’, Rolling Stones: Forty Licks (c.d.), Disc 2, Track 1 (UMTV: September 2005)

Part III Howard Cunnel, ‘Fast This Time’, Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll (New York: Viking Penguin, 2007) pp 1-52 Tim Cresswell, ‘Mobility as Resistance: A Geographical Reading of Kerouac’s “On the Road”’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 18, No. 2 (1993) pp 249-62 Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll (New York: Viking Penguin, 2007) Penny Vlagopoulos, ‘Rewriting America’, Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll (New York: Viking Penguin, 2007) pp 53-68 Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, ‘Introduction’, Edited by Steve Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, The Road Movie Book (London: Routledge, 1997) pp 1-14 Manahola Dargis, ‘Roads to Freedom’, Sight and Sound 3 (1991) Easy Rider (Columbia Pictures, dir. Dennis Hopper, 1969) David Laderman, ‘What a Trip: The Road Film and American Culture’, Journal of Film and Video 48, 1-2 (1996) Harriet R. Polt, ‘Review: Easy Rider’, Film Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Autumn 1969) pp 22-24 Shari Roberts, ‘Western Meets Eastwood: Genre and gender on the road’, Edited by Steve Cohan and Ina Rae Hark, The Road Movie Book (London: Routledge, 1997) pp 45-69 Jo Garnder, ‘North America: Route 66’ part of ‘Great Drives’, National Geographic Traveller (March/April 2011) Michael Wallis, Route 66: The Mother Road (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin)


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List of Illustrations Front Page

Evidence of trip around the U.S. Greyhound 30 day pass photocopy Page 17

David Hockney, Pearblossom Highway, 11-18 April, 1986 (http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails? artobj=112574&handle=li) Page 26

Easy Rider Print screen still from Easy Rider DVD (Sony Pictures: January 2000) Page 29

Cadillac Ranch (http://e7diablo.deviantart.com/art/Cadillac-Ranch-89375187)

Dissecting the Landscape: Highways That Made America  

Final year American Studies essay by Artist James Apichart Jarvis that looks into the influence of American Highways on American infrastruct...