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The Beat Generation

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was a generation of beat, down wanderers, who traveled the continent trying to find the answer to why we are here and what here is. Some of the founders, of this movement were Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, who then was under the name of William Lee, and Allen Ginsberg. The Beats rejected the conventional American life style. As survivors of the World War II and preys of consumerism, everything that went on in the United States gave them great dissatisfaction. Their meaning of life was rediscovered from Jazz, Buddhism and drugs, which became the integral part of the beat movement.
Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac had much reference to jazz, Buddhism, and drugs in their literary work. Ginsberg, who was mainly known for his life-changing poem 'Howl,' which was first read at the Six Gallery in San Francisco in October 1955, defeated all odds by letting be known and writing about the fact that he was of Jewish heritage and a homosexual. William Burroughs, who also was very much into drugs, wrote such novels such as Junky, and 'Naked Lunch, which made Burroughs an underground celebrity, and is widely considered his best work.3' Burroughs is in fact though, 'the only major beat figure not strongly influenced by Buddhist thought.4' Jack Kerouac, who had wrote the great novel, On The Road, contained great reference to jazz. It contained the idea of spontaneous prose which Kerouac thought of while listening to jazz. Spontaneous prose was 'the style of being true to one's beliefs and idealism's', and this reflected the beat's movement and spontaniety.
Jazz was definitely an essential for the beats in . Jazz was a form of music created by African Americans. It was a mix of American and African music. Jazz had big attractions and influences on the Beats. Jazz could easily give the beats kicks because they were both considered to be minority, or esoteric, to the society. They also shared similar feelings toward themselves and there way of life. Another similarity that the Beats and jazz musicians had was the word 'beat' itself. 'The word 'beat' was primarily in use after World War II by jazz musicians and hustlers as a slang term meaning down and out, or poor and exhausted.6'
To the Beats, jazz was a way of life and they borrowed terms such as 'square' and 'dig' from these musicians. Many of the beats used drugs and narcotics in an attempt to try and be like their jazz idols. Since the Beats are writers, the effects of jazzon their minds were expressed in their literature. Their prose was joined with music. The result of this was the creation spontaneous prose. Jack Kerouac's novel, On The Road and Allen Ginsberg's poem, Howl, were famous for this prose. Beat poetry, like the work of Ginsberg showed to have a much more looser and more of a rhythm comparable to jazz. Jazz music and the beat poetry both stress the importance of the second and fourth beats of its work. In a piece of jazz music, the musician plays whatever comes to his mind and gets back to the melody at the end. Spontaneous prose was similar. It was ' characterized by a style submerged in the stream of consciosness, words blurted out in vigorous bursts, rarley revised and often sparsely punctuated for lines and lines.' It concentrates on expression of true inner feelings and thoughts, ignores forms and grammar. The focus of this style of writing is to have the writer write for himself, not for the approval of readers. Spontaneous prose was one of the biggest derivatives of jazz and it became a integral classification of Beat literature.

Many poems written by the beats would be recited along with the accompaniment of jazz music at such cities as San Francisco in popular jazz clubs. With all of this influence, there were very few beats that were in fact jazz musicians themselves. There were however, interactions between the talents of the two different worlds. Jazz, in all, had a major influence of the writers of the Beat Generation.

The belief in Buddhism was another heavy influence on the Beat Generation. It It was mainly the religion of the beats which was originally an ancient and very philosophical Asian tradition. Writers such as Kerouac and Ginsberg started getting into it while in New York but started making the religion a part of their lives after moving to California and being inspired by Gary ...

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