Essay on The Beat Generation

887 Words Jan 1st, 2002 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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This poem is sometimes referred to as a violent "howl" of human anguish. It attacks the forces of conformity and mechanization that Ginsberg believed destroyed the best minds of his generation. This poem has no real structure or rational connection of ideas, and the rules of grammar are abandoned in order to pack imagery into one line. The poem points the way toward a new and better existence, chronicling the pilgrimage of the "mad generation" toward a reality that is timeless and placeless, holy and eternal.

Jack Kerouac was not only a leader of the Beat movement in literature, but also a spokesman. Kerouac's major writings are loosely organized and autobiographical. Many describe his wanderings throughout the United Sates, Mexico, and Europe. Like the other works of Beat writers, Kerouac's novels emphasized spiritual liberation through sex, drugs, and the Asian religion called Zen.

According to Kerouac, who was the first writer to use the term "Beat Generation", the word "beat" had various definitions and connotations for the writers. Despair over the beaten state of the individual in mass society, belief in the beatitude, or blessedness of the natural world and in the powers of the beat jazz music and poetry. Later in the 1950's, the term "beatnik" was referred to the people who held the ideas and attitudes of the Beat writers.

Kerouac's most famous novel, "On The Road", is an account of

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