The Beat Generation Essay

1149 Words Nov 23rd, 2008 5 Pages
“The Definition of “Beatness”
But yet, but yet, woe, woe unto those who think that the Beat Generation means crime, delinquency, immorality, amorality ... woe unto those who attack it on the grounds that they simply don’t understand history and the yearning of human souls ... woe in fact unto those who those who make evil movies about the Beat Generation where innocent housewives are raped by beatniks! ... woe unto those who spit on the Beat Generation, the wind’ll blow it back. -- Jack Kerouac

The Beat Generation or “Beatness”, if you will, has always been looked down upon by society simply because they were a misunderstood generation… much like today’s Generation X. The Beats’ attempt to liberate their minds and spirits through
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‘To call this small group of individuals a generation was ‘symbolic of the creation of a new trend’ …of the change that was yet to come.
Instead of leading dull and motionless lives like the rest of postwar America, the Beats wanted to live exciting lives, doing fun and new things. The Beats’ outlook on life was characterized by “romantic philosophy” . They moved away from the moral standards of society and pursued new exciting lives. Their strong desire for the return to natural life was what fueled their free spirited behavior. They took road trips by means of hitch hiking, hung out in jazz bars, drank, smoked and read poetry. Such activities were somewhat frowned upon by society because things like that were for people who had no desire to follow rules; hippies or punks if you will. For example, in her article “Variations on a Generation”, Ann Charters shows how writers of the 1950’s viewed the Beat Generation: “[Lipton] called them ‘holy barbarians’-holy in their search for Self, barbarian in their total rejection of the so-called civilized standards of success, morality, and neurosis.” Through her article, Ann Charters shows the reader that the Beats’ apparent lack of personal and social morals as seen by society was not the overall problem; instead the Beats wanted to change the standard by which they had to live and leave behind a legacy.
In addition to their “I wanna

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