Beat Movement Essay

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Inspired by a populism akin to contemporary Latin American theologians' preferential option for the poor, the beats looked for spiritual insight not to religious elites but to the racially marginal and the socially inferior, "fellah" groups that shared with them an aversion to social structures and established religion. Hipsters and hobos, criminals and junkies, jazzmen and African-Americans initiated the beats into their alternative worlds, and the beats reciprocated by transforming them into the heroes of their novels and poems.

Shortly after Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs teamed up in New York in 1944, their circle of acquaintances expanded to include "teaheads from everywhere, hustlers with pimples, queens with pompadours. . . the unprotected, the unloved, the unkempt, the inept and sick" who hung out at the penny arcades, peep shows, and jazz clubs in the Bowery, Harlem, and Times Square. Kerouac described them in his first novel, The Town and the City...

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This section contains 1,230 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Beat Movement Study Guide
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Literary Movements for Students
Beat Movement from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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