Wed 8 Feb 2006
Jack Kerouac coined the term, “The Beat Generation”, but like many other movements occurring throughout history this was a development that was a long time brewing. Looking back at the antics of his ancestors, grandparents, and parents, he sees that the Beat Generation was the next possible step.
According to Kerouac, to be “beat” is to “love your lives out” (56), to be smooth, innocent, and animalistic all at the same time. There were different factions of the Beat Generation; those who were considered “cool” and those who were considered “hot”. But, regardless of whether or not one was cool or hot, the hipsters as they were called, always gave a couple of seconds when they were walking down the street to chat to someone that gave them a smile, a nod hello, or even a nice look. There is something so basic about walking down the street and chatting with whomever will give you the time, and this seems to be a characteristic of the hipsters. They were regarded as odd and bizarre, when in reality all they wanted to do is enjoy the life that they were given, and love and appreciate everything that was around them.
It is rather ironic that a word that has such negative connotations such as “beat” is now being used to describe a revolution that had such a vibrant and vivid following. But, as Kerouac states, many misinterpreted the Beat Generation. When the term and idea took flight, it was associated with violence and delinquency, when in reality that was not the premises for the generation. Kerouac states, “I have never had anything to do with violence, hatred, cruelty, and all of that horrible nonsense…” (64), and that this generation he has partaken in has been judged, and that judgment could not be further from the truth. This Beat Generation that so many embraced desires only to love everything about life and finding joy in the things that mean the most to you. This is Kerouac’s generation.