Beatniks Research Paper

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It is January 14, 1967. Over twenty thousand people are gathering at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. As Scott McKenzie gets ready to sing “Summer of Love,” nobody has even the slightest idea that this particular song will be the start of the cliché hippies that everyone today knows as “flower children.” The lyrics “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair” inspired people from all over the world to come to San Francisco – with flowers in their hair – the following summer. This became known as the Summer of Love. Everybody knows what happened next: young people engaged in promiscuous sex, got involved in exploration of the consciousness by taking various drugs, and promoted world peace. When asked to describe a hippy, an average person will tell you that a hippy would have probably been wearing a tie-dye shirt, possess some sort of jewelry in the form of a peace sign, have long hair (most likely with flowers), and will almost always be high. However, what most people don’t know is when and where the hippies originated. The conformity of post-World War Two (WWII) time called for reform and desire for a more chaotic existence, but only a small group of individuals were willing to make it happen. This is when the “struggling writers, students, hustlers, and drug addicts” of the 1950’s first came together ( Jack Kerouac, a legendary writer and one of the first beats, was the first to call this group the Beat Generation ( They supported rediscovery of self through casual sex, listening to music, expressing inner thoughts in writing, and learning new things. “The 'Beat Generation' was composed of people fed up with American materialism and close-mindedness” (“The Beat Generation”). The word “beat” carried many connotations which could all be applied to the people of this movement; it meant “beaten and weary,” it made reference to a “music beat,” and in the drug world it meant you were cheated (“The Beat Generation”). They are also sometimes referred to as the Beatnik generation, but it means the same thing "’So I guess you might say we're a 'beat' generation…It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and ultimately, of soul’” said John Clellon Holmes (“Beat Beginnings”). Without a doubt, they were the most liberal and free spirited people America had seen up until then. But despite their wide acceptance of the unusual, the Beat women were not as popular as the men. Even though women played a major role in the Beat Generation, there is little mention of them due to the sexism of the time. Yes, even the uninhibited Beats thought of women as less talented or less capable. Gregory Corso, a well-known Beat writer, alleged that it was hard for women to get away with Bohemianism as they were deemed crazy and out of their minds (“Beat Generation”). After World War II, women were forced out of their jobs because the men were back from the front and were able to fill all the openings. The women were shoved back to their domestic responsibilities and were encouraged to have the mindset that women had to grow up, find a mate, create a home, and have a family. Those who pursued a career rather than family were looked down upon, and were considered to be out of the “norm”. Because women were supposed to inhibit their sexuality, unwed mothers were considered sinful and corrupt. The Beat movement was appealing to young women because the Beats were tired of society’s constraints and stereotypes of what everyone’s roles should be. However, the Beat women rebelled on a much lower level than men. They were not as unreserved in sex and drugs, but the rest of society considered them to be even filthier than the Beat men (Latvala). Joan Vollmer was the most central woman figure of the Beat Generation. She had a hunger for intellectual stimulation and liked to discuss various topics that were controversial, and often challenged the...
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