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The Beat Generation Throughout the twentieth century we have been witness to several movements which have helped to shape the face of American culture Collectively these movements have modified the way we as Americans think and behave One of the most influential literary movements of this century has been that of the Beat movement By using various literary techniques along with non-conformist lifestyles as a basis for their writing the beats were able to stir things up and shock society They stormed and looted the impenetrable stronghold of serious literature The beat generation opened up the eyes of the world to the unconventional and by doing so made its mark as the most significant literary movement of this century The beats were a small group of writers and intellects who were opposed to a totalitarian America An American society which was based on mass consumption and mass conformity leaving very little room for individualism The beats of which Jack Kerouac Allen Ginsberg and William S Burroughs are best known today rebelled against American culture through their literary works These works were often based on the beats own experiences which came to increasingly include drugs sex and Jazz Kerouac Ginsberg and Burroughs became acquainted with each other in the vicinity of Columbia University in the mid-1940s They remained friends while motivating each others individualistic writing efforts however it was more then ten years after that in the 1950s before publishers began to take their work seriously Jack Kerouac coined the term beat during a conversation with Herbert Hunke Beat was originally used to describe Kerouacs close network of friends consisting mainly of artists writers and criminals only later did it represent an entire movement Kerouac felt the word beat represented the notion that he along with his friends were beaten down by the government beaten down by the police beaten down by any and all controlling institutions and for
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