The Beat Generation emerged in America in 1955s, which turned out to be a suffocating age. The intensively industrialized civilization caused economic affluence but led to the mental bareness. Individuality and independence had been deprived of mercilessly. The beat movement not only announced the springtime of a new literary conception but additionally predicted an overall liberation of brain. And much more importance was attached to the choice of their life made in the hard instances. Nearly all the members were gays, and had the experience of drug smoking. They embraced the extreme individualism, and took the morbid trend as an effective means to break with the bound of conventional moral plus legal system.
They recorded the experience of themselves and revealed the truth of bottom through their works, giving a long howl of pain to the modern civilization, which starving the human freedom. In their eyes, the arts and behaviors were closely associated; the arts reflected the actions, while the behaviors embodied the arts.
Among the influential members were Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. The term “beat generation” was introduced by Jack kerouac sometime around 1948 to describe his interpersonal circle. The major beat writings incorporated Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.
Allen Ginsberg was possibly one of the best-known contemporary poets within recent history. He was born within 1926 in Newark. Many of his writings were interpreted as questionable and obscene. The reading of Howl resulted in the arrest associated with Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the owner of City Lighting Books, on obscenity charges. The particular authorities objected to Ginsberg’s visibility concerning his homosexuality as well as the graphic sexual language. Many of his some other writings deal with subjects such as drugs.
William Burroughs was born in1914 in St . Louis. He was well known for his openly homoerotic habits and his experiments with narcotic ingredients. Most of his writing centered on the particular underworld and drug sub-cultures great film, Naked Lunch, achieved cult status.
Jack Kerouac was born in 1922 in Lowell, Massachusetts. As the author of the infamous novel, On the Road, Kerouac became a leader and a spokesman for the Beat Movement. Many critics often questioned Burrough’s literary merit, observing that much of his work was mundane rambling that encouraged and glorified a world of drugs and immorality.
2 The social background of the beat movement
The beat movement broke out in specific social and political background in the usa. After World War II, the America started to tend to a closed society. Intense mechanization and more application of new technology deprived of the people’s privacy and independence, and was taken as the supreme ideology, which could completely manipulate the man and the surroundings. The abuse of nuclear weapon created new way to obtain terror, convincing people that human will be devastated by the power of science. As the escalating of power of the Pentagon, many military bases were set up all over the world to open a way for that American supremacy policy. The traditional understanding ideas for the differences of the ideology had degenerated into the zeal for your political uniformity. The respect regarding individuality had been denied, which was replaced by the suppress of the public opinion and censorship for writing functions. This industrialization development guided The united states into the economic affluence but led to the mental lack and lack of honestness. In the stifling atmosphere, the rythm movement aroused surprisingly.
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It started a new style full of freedom. The beats were taken as a group of cynics, addicted to the drug, crimes and homosexuality. They took themselves like a band of vagrants forsaken with the orthodox culture, a group of vanguards keeping a new and eccentric outlook upon morals, a group of anonymous writers producing only for themselves.
3 The perspective of beats on life
several. 1 The root of the beats’ lifestyle
The outlook of beats on life was rooted in the revolutionary romantic philosophy. They were in turn influenced by William Blake, Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau. These people carried forward the Thoreau’s mindset to life –radical idealism, which was full of the skeptics about the industrial world and strong desire for the go back to natural idyllic life. Like Whitman and Blake, they extolled all creatures and advocated the typical American style purity, simplicity, and freshness.
3. 2 The rejection of the prevailing American middle class beliefs
Then, the beats rejected the particular prevailing American middle class values, which aimed at the pursuit of convenience. They showed strong contempt for the comfortable but very dull life style of middle class, and compared it to ” a pool of the stagnant water “which stifled the breath of individual independence to death. They turned the blind eye to the convention and pursued the new exciting life filled with the adventure and surprise, which had broken through the restriction of typical morals. The beats drank by themselves in the drug, and crimes, plus took these as the bliss associated with life, as they thought that they lived for themselves and considered by themselves as the championship for the liberty. Yet everything turns to the opposite when it reaches to the extreme. So the beats’ excessive violation of convention plus riot against orthodoxy incurred sour and fierce slander and skin from many critics. They were nicknamed “desperados”, a group of illicit who wantonly broke the laws to satisfy their own mean desires. The beats attemptedto prove their firm faith within the freedom with the unorthodox views upon life. But their lifetime efforts ended up to vain, only got just a little approval and compassion.
3. a few The pursuit of the individualism
The particular beats found the American tradition of respect for individuality have been corrupted by the industrial civilization. They felt such a sense of suffocation that they had never experienced ever since as to try to seek a new industry for individual development. “I noticed the best minds of my era destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked”, Allen Ginsberg gave this type of howl of pain to the industrial civilization in his Howl. They recognized the reclusive life with pleasures to withdraw from the uproar associated with community. The beats lived in solitude, and created amazing works in the tranquility. They found the particular quiet life was a good way to break away from the moral restriction plus legal sanction. When they embraced the particular excluded values on the world, they were doomed to be sent into floating vagrant life.
It seemed how the beats were satisfied with this living. They roamed about everywhere worldwide. And the roaming life turned out to be a highly effective means to escape from the worldly pandemonium, as there were no conception associated with family, career and community within their mind. They solved the problem of the life and searched for the origin of artistic creation during the ceaseless roaming experience. Besides, the is better than upheld fanatically the anarchism. These people abused the corrupted government, and compared it to the “cancer cell” parasized on the national regime. Burroughs considered that the federation was managed by a handful of political gangsters that plotted to set up a centralized condition to intrude on the freedom plus privacy of public.
4 The particular beats’outlook on the literature
Beside the exclusive outlook on life, the beats as a college of literary scholars also setup a brand new style and model for that literary creation. The beats maintained a true and typical American books, which was free, open and fresh. They put forward a new aesthetic regular of literature to break through the restriction of convention and rejected the prevailing academic attitude to beautifully constructed wording. These standards could be characterized within the following terms:
(1) They based the poetry on the true connection with life and made their functions the true record of realistic living.
(2) They emphasized the uglification and distort of humanity to reflect the deformed development of community.
(3) They held absolute trust in the instinct and opposed the modification and polish.
(4) The particular inspiration of creation originated in the particular free and unconstrained flow associated with association.
(5) Created a new plus exciting rhythm to coordinate with the free association.
And these items will be explained in details as follows.
four. 1 The true record of practical life
Nobody but the beats could bring the true fragments of individual experience into the literary creation. Their own works were almost the portray true to life. The beats initiated the particular style of confession. They persistently documented the real feelings of their own lives in their writings. “Truth is beauty”, that was the generally acknowledged principle governing the creation of the literature. Under the guide of this principle, the is better than took the realistic life because suitable subjects of works plus worshipped them as totems. In 1950s Kerouac lived in Mexico and suffered from the severe disease and poverty, though he nevertheless worked hard regardless of the hard situation. And the hero of his focus on the Road Dean was complete reproduction of himself. Dean led a rootless and purposeless life. He didn’t know what to do, and the best. His conduct was driven with the changing weird ideas coming out of your brain.
The capricious temperaments of Leader was surprisingly similar to Kerouac himself. A friend of Kerouac said that speaking with Kerouac was like talking with many people, because his mood has been fluctuating like the turbulent waves. The particular beats’ works were also accurate exposition of their own nature. The personas in beats’ work were almost blemished by some flaws in the morals: drug-smoking, excessive drinking, homosexuality, criminal offences. As the characters of works, the beats played exactly the same parts in their own lives. These people indulged in the drug and crimes. The beats took this exposition of nature as an aesthetic standard. They held that arts as well as the behaviors should mutually influence. The arts reflected the behaviors, while behaviors performed the arts and supplied source materials for artistry.
4. 2 The beats’ focus on the dehumanization and the distort associated with humanity
The beats’ emphasis on the particular spiritual dehumanization was direct react to the American self-betray and self-damage. The America was undergoing a continuous decline, while the uglification symbolized revitalization. The beats’ efforts to extend the literature theme were unprecedented. Absolutely nothing could not be listed into the scope of literary description: naked sleeper, vagrants, drug-smoker, rioting face, even the prostitutes on the street. Anything could be the item of description. The beats’ works manifested a kind of open life without the restriction of the orthodox morals. These people took the corrupt life like a longstanding reality and an effective means to expose the darkness of community. They also found it the outlet to drain the mental stress to them. William Burroughs brought the drug and homosexuality scenes into the poetry in 1950s. He portrayed the agony of mental torture and used the obscene language, which was filled with bitter satires. His representative function Naked Lunch displayed a nightmare-like picture full of gloomy and terrible scenes.
In Naked Lunch Burroughs transforms the body’s addictive nature straight into an entity called the “Human Virus” or the “evil virus. ” Herpes lives upon the human host, satisfying its own needs for drugs, sex, or power (the three simple addictions for Burroughs) through demonic possession, which dehumanizes the human being by making him subservient to a physical or psychological need. When addicted or possessed, the human being turns into identical with the virus and regresses to a lower form of life. Through the distort of human nature, Burroughs expressed the pain of people lived in the morbid developing society and brought the dark side of mankind to light. Allen Ginsberg’s Howl had been accused for the radical views and vulgar language when it was published. He aimed the target of attack at the mechanical civilization associated with America after the World War II, and cursed it as “Robot apartments! Invisible suburbs! Skeleton treasuries! Blind capitals! Demonic industries! Spectral nations! Invincible mad houses! Granite cocks! Gigantic bombs! ”
The Kerouac is actually On the Road is the true record associated with another abnormal life. The hero was an absolute insane, who was driven by the bizarre ideas in the mind. He took delight in his outrageous behaviors and drank himself within the wild sensual stimulus. The change from the normal model showed that this beats had shifted from the performing of virtue to the distort of the human nature, which proved to be a highly effective tool for uncovering of the deformed development of society. Whitman’s conception associated with affinity (also the compassion intended for everything) played the role associated with mould in Ginsberg’s poem. Whitman loudly appealed to the public: everything was born equally. Anything including the pirates, the prostitutes, the slaver, the businessman could be brought into the works. This practice influenced Allen Ginsberg greatly. Ginsberg began to accept the poetical language came from the usual language of common people. And he declared that this writers should embrace the commonplace, explore and defer to the popular and mean things.
4. 3 The absolute faith in the instinct and opposing of the modification
The is better than attached much importance to the intuition and held that the words had been the voice of mind. Kerouac suggested that writers should regardless follow the initial impulse from the underside, which was regarded as the aesthetics of poetry creation. This view transported forward the William Wordsworth’s beliefs of poetry creation: “All great poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling”. This theory also came from the Surrealism，which emphasized the casual stream of consciousness, aiming to display the real thinking process with no control of morals or the aesthetical specifications. Surrealism held that the poetry is definitely a form of discovery through the illusion. The particular surrealist induced the spontaneous illusory feelings. Ginsberg went on with the theory of surrealism. He claimed that “These psalms are the workings from the vision haunted mind and not that reason which never changes. ” He took notice of the tips from the flashing across the mind within the dream, and took them since the preposition of realistic poetical development. In order to recall the spontaneous feelings, the beats brought the drug smoking and the meditation of Buddhism into poetry creation. The effect of drug was marvelous. It could produce mysterious illusion. Coleridge claimed that will his KublaKhan was completed in the fantasy produced by the marijuana.
Ginsberg also tried to extend the range of consciousness at risk of the damage of the drug to his body. This individual wrote as he took the medications and drunk himself into the natural illusion produced by the acid. Besides, they also learned a lot from the Deep breathing. Through the tranquil thinking, they got themselves into the wild imagination and dismissed the turmoil inference from your mind. Then the stream of thought would gush out from the bottom. The particular beats took the process of creation as the improvisation of Jazz. They had written what they thought of by instinct. They pursued the unexpected ceaseless flow of consciousness, constantly using the changing images to go on the waves of consciousness, because in their eyes the stop means the death. The company faith in the instinct made the beats unanimously oppose the modification: they held that literature ought to express common and pure emotions freely, instead of the obscure and complex structure of rhetoric.
Writers need to record instantly what he thought of, rather than make modification afterwards. In their eye, modification meant disguise associated with truth as well as the lie told before the practical experience. Allen Ginsberg held overall faith in the instinctual impulse, so he never regarded the etiquette or used the soft euphemism. In the poem America, he cursed the American abuse of nuclear bomb, and yelled ” Go bang yourself with your atom bomb”, which not only made many critics trembling with amazement but also caused the particular much agitation in the American literary arena.
4. 4 The motivation of creation from the fluent organization
The beats broke the formal logic of convention verse and put the stress on the free flowing flow of consciousness. Kerouac thought that the beauty of poem originated from the free and fluent association. In this respect, Kerouac transported forward romantic philosophy of Wordsworth to its limit. He held that writers should recollect a good act or feeling through the free of charge association, and he replaced this regular flow of consciousness stream with all the wild fantasy, which could achieve the aim of: letting the consciousness flow smoothly. The writers’ purpose is “struggle to sketch the flow that will already exists intact in mind”, which should be violent and unconstrained from the bottom. The beats happy in the extreme release of emotions and tried to find a kind of language, which could not block the totally free flow of the consciousness stream. They will realized the importance of the natural vocabulary, which broke through the restriction of the conventional language. There was no logical language structure in Whitman’s mind during the process of creation. He released the waves of fantasy regardless of the pattern of verse meter.
So his verse was like the fluid melody charged with the wild inspiration. Kerouac maintained that “no periods separating sentence-structures already arbitrarily riddled by false colons and shy usually needless commas-but the strenuous space dash separating rhetorical breathing”. So the punctuation marks should also end up being omitted so that the sentences could be completely in harmony with the consciousness stream. William Burroughs invented a new composing technique –shifting. He collected several fragments from the extensive reading, casual conversation, and newspaper, and then rearranged them into a whole.
This unique technique made the images in his functions shift quickly from one to another, plus produced an extraordinary momentum and energy, which were in step with price of free association. For example , the scenes in the Nake Lunch changed rapidly, “In Yemen, Paris, New Orleans, Mexico City and Istanbul”; within a sentence emerged five scenes. Besides, in his works, nearly all the reasonable transition structure such as the link words and phrases were dismissed on purpose for the smooth flow of association. As a result, the particular steam of consciousness could neglect from one image to another swiftly. This means was applied skillfully in the beginning associated with Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.