As we Kerouac fans continue to stew in our own excited juices waiting for the U.S. theatrical release of On The Road, it might be helpful to occupy ourselves productively in the meantime. Here are some suggestions:
1. Re-read On The Road.
I'm reading the scroll version, but I recommend reading the traditional version so that you will have in mind the actual character names from the movie (Sal & Dean versus Jack & Neal, etc.).
2. Refresh your character knowledge
Even though I suggest reading the traditional version of On The Road in preparation, I still think it's helpful to know which real-life characters align with the characters in the book. Here's a quick-reference, but you can always visit Empty Mirror's list (my source). You might want to jot this list down on the inside cover of your copy of On The Road.
Sal Paradise = Jack Kerouac
Dean Moriarty = Neal Cassady
Old Bull Lee = William S. Burroughs
Carlo Marx = Allen Ginsberg
Ed Dunkel = Al Hinkle
Marylou = Luanne Henderson
Camille = Carolyn Cassady
Amy Moriarty = Cathy Cassady
Joanie Moriarty = Jamie Cassady
Chad King = Hal Chase
Remi Boncoeur = Henri Cru
Inez = Diana Hansen
Laura = Joan Haverty
Galatea Dunkel = Helen Hinkle
Tom Saybrook = John Clellon Holmes
Elmer Hassel = Herbert Huncke
Stan Shepard = Frank Jeffries
Sal's aunt = Gabrielle Kerouac (Jack's mother)
Roland Major = Allen Temko
Jane = Joan Vollmer
Ed Wall = Ed Uhl
Rollo Greb = Alan Ansen
3. Brush up on beat terminology
To do this, simply visit the The Beat Generation Dictionary.