The Beats’ Defining Poetry Essay

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The Beat generation of the fifties and sixties were a unique and strictly American group of writers who began a distinct movement in the world of literature. What is so unique about the Beats begins simply with the fact that they defined themselves as the Beat generation, and touted their own literary style every chance they had, promoting each other’s work, shamelessly and pretentiously. This is opposed to the normal sequence of events in literary chronology, as specific literary movements and styles are often recognized and defined retrospectively, often posthumously, rather than recognized by the author (or authors) involved. The original, core group of Beat writers were close friends with mutual respect for each of their peer’s …show more content…
With that said, I think it is important to note that Thomas F. Merrill’s critical essay makes a great point in asserting that while the poem’s impact was huge, it’s contribution to literature itself was minimal. Regardless, though, one cannot deny the fact that Howl does a fantastic job of making Ginsberg’s distress with his country known, as well as making his generation of Beats known. It has been stated that Howl was written "in one of the oldest traditions, that of Hosea or the other angry Minor prophets of the Bible” (Merrill). This may seem like an odd statement for those who are unfamiliar with the Old Testament, but I will attempt to explain this comment clearly as possible. Hosea, and numerous other minor prophets all follow a pattern or formula: the prophet is called into service by God through some form of theophany (God reveals himself to the prophet), then the prophet is given an unpopular message (the message is always unpopular with the population), and the prophet is angered by Israel’s apostasy (turning away from God) and sin and is driven to deliver his message and return Israel to the righteous path. So, what is essentially being said here of Howl, is that Ginsberg

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