Essay On Minor Characters

1482 Words6 Pages
Memoir Book Essay Joyce Johnson’s memoir Minor Characters chronicles her life and experiences during the late 1940s through 50s in connection with the subculture known as the Beat generation most famously headed by Jack Kerouac. Though the memoir shares Johnson’s story during this time frame, chapters are also dedicated to Kerouac’s and the Beats movements as well prior to her involvement with them. On her own, however, Johnson’s life was one that pushed against the typical lives of women during the 40s and 50s. Starting as a young girl in 1945 living with her parents and attempting to live up to their expectations, she slowly starts to push outside of the boundaries of the acceptable life by sneaking off to Greenwich village to hang out…show more content…
It is with this crowd that she first begins to dream of a life different than what society and her family has laid out before her. Here, downtown in Greenwich square and run-down cafeterias like Waldorf’s, she is able to drink coffee which is not allowed in her home; completes her double-life disguise with a pair of long copper earrings she hides around her parents but proudly dons in her downtown life; and even begins to experiment with relationships, mostly by chaperoning Maria’s dates and living vicariously through her. This time is also, then, the first in which she is introduced to the idea and desire of relationships and sex saying that she realizes that real life is not order and structural but sexual at its core. This belief and the actions that result from it continues to be an aspect of her life that opposes the standards of approved society. Sex for women was not as taboo as it had been in the past, but premarital sex was still widely frowned upon and women who were seen as sexually promiscuous were ousted by their communities. As a college student at the age of eighteen, Johnson lost her virginity with her then-boyfriend of several months, Steven, at a professor’s apartment, Alex, whom her friend, Elise, had been having an affair with for a couple of years. However, during that summer as she and Alex remained in the city, they quickly grew closer together in the absence of Elise and Steven. She soon fell in love with Alex
Open Document