Beat Movement In Relation To On The Road

2682 words - 11 pages

The Beat Movement started out in the late 40’s and continued for another decade, it would later evolve into the Hippie Movement. Many of the things that the Hippies believed in the Beats also held to be true. The Beats had a great lack of respect for authority and traditional American values. They would attempt to convince people that this was the way to live life and to reject the way that they used to live. The Beat Movement was mostly comprised of authors, artists, and musicians. The members would attempt to influence and enlighten other people through their writings and music, but their ideas had to come from somewhere, and this was where their greatest problem came from. Members of the Beat Movement continually abused both drugs and alcohol; Kerouac shows this through the events of On The Road.
One of the main characteristics of the Beat Movement was their way of life. They would reject traditional American values that had been upheld by their parents and the people who came before them. The Beats broke the mold and decided how they would act by themselves and not based on how someone else told them to act. Kerouac is wrote about this in his books and tried to influence people on the beats way of life; how they rejected the materialistic way of life that had come to define America as a society. They wanted to show people that this wasn’t the way to live life. The Beat Movement as a whole would go out and drink at many places. One of the most highly frequented places for their drinking were the jazz clubs that sprung up in cities across America.
“Somewhat younger than Lester Young, also from KC, that gloomy, saintly goof in whom the history of jazz was wrapped; for when he held his horn high and horizontal from his mouth he blew the greatest; and as his hair grew longer and he got lazier and stretched-out, his horn came down halfway; till it finally fell all the way and today as he wears his thick-soled shoes so that he can't feel the sidewalks of life his horn is held weakly against his chest, and he blows cool and easy get out phrases. Here were the children of the American bop night.” (On The Road, pg 241)
In the jazz clubs people were free to express themselves however they wanted; whether that expression was through drinking, racial mixing, the art and free form of jazz or even experimenting sexually. Yet before the time of the Beat Movement, only alcoholics in America would indulge in excessive drinking; but the Beats basically made that a cornerstone of their society.
“Americans are always drinking in crossroads saloons on Sunday afternoon; they bring the kids; they...

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