Beats as a counterculture Essay

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The Beats As A Counterculture

Many of the Beat writers wrote in a style known as spontaneous prose. Allen Ginsberg often writes in this style. He does so in the poem “Howl” in which he rants and raves about society via his friends – Jack Kerouac, Willaim S. Burroughs, Lawrence Ferlingetti, and Neil Cassidy to name a few, live. He discusses their poverty, civil disobedience, the ways that they fight society, and his personal fight against industrialization; he uses many images in order to allow the reader to understand his lifestyle, the lifestyle of his friends and points of view, specifically their rejection of society.
Ginsberg depicts the deprived environment in which he chooses to live in through imagery. For instance the speaker
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This is depicted in the quote: “who got bused in their public beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,” The belief that Marijuana should not be illegal provoked them to attempt to bring marijuana across the Mexican boarder. Certain Beats were arrested for the cause of legalization. The narrator of “Howl” pronounces: “Who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooling pederasty…” They had the will to be arrested simply because they did not believe in a law and be glad about being arrested as an act of civil disobedience. It is one of the ways in which people can fight against society.
The fight against societal values was a constant battle. As an anti-society act The Beats “ threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade.” This shows the irony of their battle against society because although it would be nice to live completely outside of society it is very difficult. Because they threw their watches off the roof they were forced to ask the time wherever they went in order to coincide with the “outside world.” This battle turned out to be a losing one. This is proved in the quote from “Howl”: “who cut their wrists three times successively unsuccessfully, gave up and were forced to open antique stores
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