The Beat Generation

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The beat generation was one of the largest cultural movements of the twentieth century. What started off as a literary phenomenon quickly progressed into a life-changing attitude for thousands of people across the country. The movement embraced originality and individuality in the way that people thought and acted. The generation’s writers coined the term “beat” to describe the type of generation in which they were living in. However, this is not to say that they did not see the world around them as beautiful. Though they were extremely aware of the corruption in society, they were also able to detach themselves from it to see the beauty of individuality and creativity. The movement of the beat generation disposed of old rules of literature, music, sex and religion, and its effects are still prevalent today.

The beat generation started as a response to the Second World War that had just ended. Questions immediately arose about the old way of life and social rules that people were supposed to adhere to. Here in come the writers of the beat generation. Their main purpose wasn’t to question society or break rules just for the sake of it. Their purpose wasn’t even to start a generation. Rather, society was changing and people were granted a new sense of freedom after the war; the beat generation writers just led the way in exploring that freedom.

Freedom, for the beat writers, began through literary expression. The writers went against the societal norms, such as marriage, jobs and other social avenues, and instead turned to the faiths and philosophies that they had been raised with. By travelling without destination and with a spiritual mind, the beat generation writers were able to fully explore life for its real meaning and find their own voice, as oppose to letting society decided who they were for them. This allowed for their writing to be just as carefree as them—it allowed them to develop their own individualistic writing style; the style that expressed...
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