william bouroughs & Jack kerouac: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 generationopened 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 thevicinity 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 a while, beaten down from the literary world. Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs all sustained the desire to keep the beat, to celebrate the true spirit of the lower class, which to them, happens to be the real beat generation. The beats wrote literature and poetry, it was here where they began to experiment with new writing styles, and new ways of living life. These new experiment methods pressed the notion of freedom to a new limit while, breaking societies hold on what freedom is suppose to mean. The beats engaged in escapades that included crime, hedonistic parties, and mind altering drugs. It was the perfect combination of non-conformist desires to live life to its fullest, along with brilliance in writing, that made the writers of the beat generation eye-catching to the public. Everywhere they went they rejoiced in the splendor of life: nature, writing, art, and experience.