|Does he remind you of anyone?|
For Kerouac, all that endless travel always led back to his mother, as Joyce Johnson writes about so beautifully both in her memoir Minor Characters and in her biography of Kerouac, The Voice is All.
According to Johnson, Kerouac's drive to write and to create, to find a voice that could fuse the parts of himself--thinking in the joual French of his French-Canadian parents and writing in the English of the Beats that he would pioneer--was part of this restlessness. Haunted by the death of his older brother, Gerard, when he was a child, Kerouac was on a continuing quest for some authentic voice that would admit perfection and ecstatic vision to be expressed through language. This and his insecurities led him through some self-destructive behavior, to say the least, including involvement with numerous women and heavy drinking. Oh, and he is drawn primarily to dark-haired women, leading him to tell the blonde Joyce Johnson (then Glassman) that he doesn't usually go for women of her coloring.
Sound like anyone you know? Does this mean that Don will be trying to get back to some state of origin, despite knowing that, as Thomas Wolfe, a great influence on Kerouac, put it, "You can't go home again?" Don can never get back to his mother, although that doesn't stop him from trying to recapitulate the homecoming experience. What Kerouac knows/knew is that even if you can go back physically, emotionally you never really can.
I'm not trying to trivialize Kerouac's achievement by comparing it to advertising, by any means, or trying to draw an exact parallel. But if Weiner and company are trying to capture some essence of the mid-century man and the divided self, they couldn't have chosen a better model.
Just as an aside: wouldn't you like to see the ending be what the writer over at Vox thinks might happen, the Mother of All Don Draper Pitches?