The Beat Generation Research Papers
20th Century history has many cultural movements that are interesting to explore in research papers. Have Paper Masters custom write your research project on the Beat Generation and learn about one of the most unique, young set of individuals to grace the 1950s and 1960's. Our writer will focus on the music, poetry, art or icons of the Beat Generation in a project that you design and dictate exactly what you want reviewed.
In the 1950s and 1960s young people across America began to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo. They overwhelmingly rejected the gross materialism and commercial culture that surrounded them and sought out new ways to define themselves. Their numbers were small at first, but as time went on more and more joined the ranks of the counterculture. In the 1950s, they called themselves the Beats. The stereotypical beat was as follows:
- Dressed in black
- Wore a beret (the men had goatees)
- Listened to jazz music—the bebop and cool jazz of Miles Davis and Charlie Parker
- They smoked marijuana (“reefer”) and read the novels of Jack Kerouac and the poems of Allan Ginsberg
A decade later young people began calling themselves hippies, growing their hair long, dressing in blue jeans and tie-dyed shirts, and listening to the rock and roll of the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and a host of other psychedelic bands. They too smoked marijuana for recreational purposes, but began using a new drug: LSD. They had a common bond in their protests against the Vietnam War, and asked the world to make love, not war.
While it is true that the Beat Generation was a part of American culture beginning in the 1940s during World War II, it did not gain significant cultural status until August of 1944 when a Columbia sophomore, named Lucien Carr, murdered David Kammerer, a thirty-three year-old gay man. The murder, which took place in Riverside Park at the base of 115th Street, was deemed by the Daily News an “honor slaying.” It seems that Kammerer, a former teacher, had fallen hopelessly in love with Carr, a former student. This incident spawned the Beat’s first literary efforts and projected such great minds as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac into the limelight.
The term “Beat Generation” has been used in many different contexts over the course of history. For some the term summons to mind a youth culture of post World War II and pre-Vietnam. For others, the Beat Generation has come to represent a handful of authors, poets, and dreamers whose activities served to circumvent, what they perceived, as the prevailing oppressive forces of the sociocultural atmosphere. Writing on the culture of the Beats, David Halberstam notes:
They were the first to protest what they considered to be the blandness, conformity, and lack of serious social and cultural purpose in middle-class life in America. If much of the rest of the nation was enthusiastically joining the great migration to the suburbs, they consciously rejected this new life of middle-class affluence and were creating a new, alternative life-style; they were the pioneers of what would become the counterculture.