Benjamin Ro.


Allen Ginsberg is a true Beat Generation writer. Although we read his work without knowing a lot about him and his past, his work focuses a lot about how society was run and how people lived life back then. His poems were different but his style and genre was the same as other beat writers like Kerouac and Burroughs. The poems that Howl consisted of seem to all have the same deep hatred for the severe amount of conformity that existed and still exists in America. Like his fellow beat writers, Ginsberg’s main message is that Americans need to establish their own sense of individuality for them to feel themselves. His poems stress how he wants people to be comfortable with being an outsider and for them to make their own opinions heard by others in society. I think this is the subject Ginsberg expressed his writing for his poetry, by writing about his exotic experiences with his friends, drugs and alcohol. I think by him writing about his experiences encouraged other loners in America to become more themselves and express their own ideas. Trendsetters like Allen Ginsberg and the work he did, is the reason why in society today you have so many different types of people and unique individuality.

In Junky, I am surprised to see that although Bill Lee knows all these “Junk” substances are bad for him he still continues to abuse these bad habits. Throughout the novel Lee consistently tries to kick his use of drugs but never has enough self control to stop completely. During the novel, when Bill Lee recognizes the fact that the drug he is using at the time is bad for him, he seems to just pack up and move to a different state where nobody knows him. When Lee is in a new state he always seems to find a new friend who can hook him into the social trend; and this friend seems to persuade Bill into experimenting with a new drug. What I do not understand, is how Bill starts up these bad habits and can not stop without changing to a new substance, yet throughout the book Burroughs constantly talks about how doing these drugs will not make you an addict unless you do them for a substantial amount of time. My view on Bill Lee is; even though I understand he went through tough times and struggled with money, that he was a drug addict. A drug addict is somebody who uses drugs to the point where it becomes completely unhealthy and the person does not have any self control to stop himself from using the “Junk.” In Junky, Bill Lee does drugs for plenty of years and can not stop. To me that is an addict.

When starting this class, I had no idea what the Beat Generation was all about. I had heard of Hunter S. Thomson before, but beyond that nothing. I was unfamiliar with any of the beats work, nor the beats themselves. I assumed that the Beat Generation was just a time of writing about a particular topic. When in fact the beats had started a whole revolution about the way they viewed American society. Individualism was important to the beats, who all had their own style of writing, which consisted of their feelings, notions and their repeated experiences.
In Jack Kerouac’s “The Origins of the Beat Generation” he truly illustrates what it meant to be apart of the beat generation. Kerouac stresses that beat will eventually get to you and affect your way of thinking one way or another. If you enjoyed what the beats stood for, it makes you think in a different way that no other poet had ever brought to American literature before. But if you dislike the beats, it still stirs up controversy and causes you to react to your reading.
The beats did start off slow, but when their reading started to catch on so did their life style. I am not so much interested right now in the beats work as I am in the beats themselves and what they did for American literature. They accomplished so much because they stood for what they believed in and a lot of Americans respected that. They tried to create an entirely new language in the American culture, while being criticized and called hippies by the people who did not believe in their writing. Being criticized is what drove the beats to keep writing, this is what beat was “love your lives out”