The Portable Beat Reader Topics for Discussion

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Given the early deaths of Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady, were the Beats correct in living to such excesses? Could they have lived any other way?

Why is Neal Cassady such a hero to the other Beats?

Why does Jack Kerouac recommend writing spontaneously?

Explain the themes of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl." Why did Judge Clayton Horn rule that the poem is not obscene?

What kind of religious ideas did the Beats have? Why were so many Beats attracted to Buddhism?

Why did the Beats use drugs and pursue extreme experiences?

Summarize the Beat criticisms of modern American society. Do you agree with these criticisms? Why or why not?

How did the Beats view the natural world? How does that outlook impact their view of humanity?

Given the vastly different outlooks of some of the Beats (e.g., Gary Snyder vs. William S. Burroughs), is...

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This section contains 160 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Portable Beat Reader Study Guide
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