The Beats

argumentative Essay
600 words
600 words

The Beats were a literary group that formed in the United States in the 1950’s. The founding members started out as college friends, attending Columbia University, who had similar interests. The small group of friends soon acquired more like minded individuals in the New York area and became a movement. The common theme of the group was the rejection of the prevalent middle-class values in the United States. They also felt that modern society lacked purpose and they felt the need to withdraw and protest. (Parkins) The group became known as the “Beat Generation” due to their message of being “beaten down” by society. (Matterson) The group eventually migrated from New York, to San Francisco, California where they gained even more members. This paper will briefly discuss some of the members of “The Beats” and what impact the movement had on society in the United States.
The two founding members of the Beats were Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Jack and Allen met while they were students at Columbia University. Jack Kerouac was born in 1922 in Massachusetts. He was attending the university on a football scholarship. (Feider) Allen Ginsberg was born in 1926, in New Jersey. He was attending the university on a scholarship from the YMCA. (Feider) Kerouac and Ginsberg both enjoyed literature and began spending time together using benzodiazepines and marijuana to fuel their creativity. (Feider) William Burroughs joined the two friends after they met in Manhattan. Burroughs who was born in 1914 in Missouri, had been found unfit to serve in the military during WWII. (Rahn) He had been spending his time doing odd jobs. Together, these three and some others, including; Gregory Corso, Neal Cassady, and Herbert Huncke ...

... middle of paper ...

...July 1994. (March 17, 2014).

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. "Beat movement (American literary and social movement)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. (March 17, 2014).

Feider, Megan. "Beatnik Writers." Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs. (March 18, 2014).

Matterson, Stephen. "Mid-1950s -1960s Beat Generation." PBS. PBS. (March, 19, 2014).

Parkins, Keith. "Beat Generation." Beat Generation. Mar. 2005. (March 18, 2014).

Rahn, Josh. "The Beat Generation." - Literature Periods & Movements. (March 17, 2014).

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the beats were a literary group that formed in the united states in 1950's. the group became known as the "beat generation" due to their message of being "beaten down" by society.
  • Describes the two founding members of the beats, jack kerouac and allen ginsberg, who met while they were students at columbia university.
  • Explains that the beats made a large impact on the 1950's, promoting freedom from censorship in literature, sexual liberation, respect for the land and cultures, and ecological consciousness.
  • Analyzes how the beat generation of the fifties gave way to the hippie generation in the sixties. the success, however, did not help many members overcome their personal demons.
  • Concludes that the beats provided a major source of influence in the fifties. their work helped to make possible the work of the sixties activists.
  • Describes the editors of encyclopdia britannica's "beat movement (american literary and social movement).
  • Cites matthewson, stephen, parkins, keith, and rahn, josh. "the beat generation."
Get Access