The Beat Generation

874 words 4 pages
The "beat movement" is a literary period born out of World War II. This movement in American Literature has become an important period in the history of literature and society in America. Characterized by personal alienation and contempt for convention, the movement celebrated stylistic freedom and spontaneity. The Beat writers created a new vision of modern life and altered the nature of awareness in America.

The Beat Generation was one of the first groups of writers to break down the barriers of traditional literature and set a precedent for future writers with their writing style, their way of life, and by the messages they portrayed. They were the kids dressed in black, hanging out at coffee shops, reading their latest poetry.
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The novel celebrates the freedom from conventional responsibilities, the emotional intensity of a life of hitchhiking, casual sex, and recreational drug use. This novel was the start of the Beat Generations journey into America's attention as journalists gave it much press, which for the most part was negative. Many classical and traditional literary scholars and poets disliked this "New Art" literature and lifestyle that Kerouac wrote about. Poet George Barker comically writes how he feels about Kerouac's works:

Now Jack, dear Jack
That ain't fair wages
For laboring through
Prose that takes ages
Just to announce
That Gods and Men
Ought to Study
The Book of Zen
If you really think
So low of the soul
Why don't you write
On a toilet roll?

However, the Beat poetry and literature that scholars once scorned are now a part of college curricula. The accomplishments of the two original beat writers were not easily acquired. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were forced to overcome endless social obstacles in order to accomplish their journey of liberation. Although these two writers faced much criticism and even severe condemnation, they never once gave into the America that would not listen to them.

The Beat Generation writers gave us insight into the attitude and way of life in the sensitive period after World War II. They broke down the boundaries of conventional literature for future writers. The Beat Generation is truly


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