ENG 203 response 5 - Like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph...

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Kirsten Wing A37359474 November 14 th , 2007 ENG 203 Sec. 002 In the 1940s and 50s the writings and lifestyles of the Beat Generation were considered extreme and foolish. In fact, many of their books were banned from mainstream publication. But, despite all of the negative criticism the Beats still managed to change American culture and influence almost every generation after them. In a time of cookie-cutter houses and traditional family values, the Beats were one of the first subcultures to form a backlash against the conformity of mainstream America. These feelings of oppression are particularly evident in Allen Ginsberg’s poem America when he writes, “America, when will we end this human war? Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb…Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?” The Beat Generation is a perfect example of the American tradition of dissent.
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Unformatted text preview: Like Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson before them, the Beats sought out a simpler existence, one that was free of society’s controls. They had no idea that they’re actions would lead to a subculture of radical thinkers, in fact most of them didn’t even consider themselves a “Beat.” This point is advocated by Gregory Corse in Variations on a Generation, “I don’t think it exists. There is no such thing as the Beat Generation….It’s not a conscious desire on my part, it’s just the way I am, I am what I am.” In conclusion, American culture would not be what it is today without help from the Beat generation. The foundation they laid over 50 years ago can still be seen in books and other forms of popular culture today....
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