The Beat Generation Essay Research Paper The

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The Beat Generation Essay, Research Paper The Beat Generation The Twentieth Century has witnessed several moments which have helped to shape the face of American culture. Each movement has in some way altered the way we, as Americans, think and act. One of the most influential literary movements of this century has been that of the Beat movement. The Beats were initially a small group of individuals situated in New York. The Beat writers were a small group of friends at first, and a movement later. The Beat Generation in literature consisted of a relatively small number of writers, of which Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs are the best known today. All three met in the surroundings of Columbia University in New York City in the mid 1940?s, and they

remained close friends. They encouraged each other?s individualistic writing efforts before publishers began to take their work seriously in the late 1950?s. Their purpose was to provoke, to challenge, to question the changes caused by the new technologies , to help Americans to remember that this too was once a place where men could dream of a better future. The Beats were dissatisfied with America?s blandness. McDonalds and bigger department store chains had Americans eating, dressing and furnishing their homes the same way. The emerging television set within homes had Americans informed and entertained from one single media point. So bland?blah! They felt a lack of purpose in life both socially and culturally, they needed a way out. They found their purpose through literature,

social contacts, and freedom. The Beats had a real appreciation for their freedom and fought to expand it. They liked the ability to pick up and go On the Road, which is the title of Jack Kerouac?s book describing his adventures hitchhiking across country. The Beats would define themselves “as poets in a land of philistines, men seeking spiritual destinies rather than material ones” They set out on journeys trying to find themselves. They set out to impact America socially and culturally, as a result they impacted the country politically. Politicians and Conservatives alike became more and more afraid of the so call “radicals” corrupting the youth?making them think! They shaped a vision of complete political, spiritual, and sexual liberation, and brought a new kind of

realism to art, in which spontaneity and improvisation were stressed. They experienced with new writing styles, such as Kerouac?s “spontaneous prose,” and the new ways of living, experimental methods that pushed the term “freedom” to its society-burdened limit with adventures that included crime, hedonistic parties, and the brilliance of their work that made writers of the Beat generation noticeable to the public. Everywhere they went, they celebrated the beauties of life: nature, literature, artwork, and experience. The Beat Generation cultural movement defied conventional values of the 1950?s and ignited the counterculture of the 1960?s. The Beat Generation was not a bunch of media hype like today?s “Generation X” which is supposed to encompass millions of people

identified solely by age. The Beat Generation was a small group of adult writers based in New York or the San Francisco Bay Area, highly connected to the publishing and writing industry. “If Generation X is like Woodstock, the Beat Generation was like a small dark tavern at two in the morning, with a bunch of old jazz musicians jamming onstage and Jack Kerouac buying rounds at the bar.” (Levi Asher – Literary Kicks) What is Beat? The original word meant nothing more than bad or ruined or spent. Jack Kerouac coined the term “beat”, with all it?s hipster significance, during a conversation with Herbert Hunke a junkie, prostitute, petty thug, and aspiring writer he used the expression “Man I?m beat!” which meant that he was tired. Huncke used the term “beat” to